‘Oi, give it a rest! It’ll end up gory!’ Not Wilfred Owen

I submit for your consideration this poem inspired by Wilfred Owen's anti-war verse Dulce Et Decorum Est and my own experiences of modern Yoof Culture (or: a poem about why I prefer a night at home wearing a cardigan and slippers to a night within 2 miles of practically any British town centre).

Drank doubles, us old slappers with big racks,
Bare-kneed, cussing like slags, we coughed up sludge,
Till on the boozing ground we turned our backs
And towards our distant beds we tried to nudge.
Birds danced asleep. Many had lost their shoes
But danced on, downed shots. All looked lame; all blind;
Pissed up on booze; deaf even to the woes
Of tired blokes on the pull that rubbed up behind.

Cab! Cab! Quick, girls! – No XTC, just running,
Catching the dirty taxi just in time;
But some bird still was screaming loud and stumbling,
And looking like a bird in shit and grime . . .
Dim, through the filthy panes and sodium light,
As under a neon sea, I saw her frowning.

In all my hangovers, I hear her chatting shite,
She lunges at me, muttering, choking, frowning.

If in some smothering hangover you too could face
The doors of the Police van they flung her in,
And watch the blood-shot eyes rolling in her face,
Her ugly face, like a haddock's, or something;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the crud
Come gargling from the fag-corrupted lungs,
(Probably got cancer) and the bitter sounding thud
Of vile, sweary words, or was she speaking in tongues?
Well mate, you would say, and not in jest
When you see kids who can’t hold their drink, usual story
Warn the deluded fools: ‘Oi, give it a rest!
It’ll end up gory!'

I am actually a bit of a Wilfred Owen fan, and I respect the stoicism of the soldiers who were tangled up in the mess of The Great War - I suspect 'Tommy Atkins' had a lot more mettle than the chavs I'm dedicating this poem to.

See also: Poems not by Philip Larkin and not by Siegfried Sassoon.

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