Summer holidays were long then:
And by the end of July,
We’d run out of money and run out of fags,
And that was the big talking point:
We had no fags for the match,
No Embassy, no Number Six, no Gold Leaf.
I told my mates of my dad’s jungle Chindit trick
(I’d read it in Safer than A Known Way,
About a soldier escaping back to British lines in Burma),
Smoking fags made out of tea leaves and bog roll,
And things were that desperate,
What with nerves and all,
That my mates thought it a good idea;
We gave it a go,
The fags were a fiasco,
But you look on the bright side when you singe your eye brows,
And even though we burnt our noses in the flames,
Mickey Hamm said that at least it got rid
Of the smell of my old Mice and Men dog, Chum.
We stared forlorn at the burnt Typhoo – Hornimans mix,
And the charred fragments of Delsey and Sellotape,
We had one last hope:
Dad took a last fag from his packet of Senior Service –
We hoped he might give us a drag,
Especially if we stared at him all the way through the tab;
He smoked slowly and obliviously and he smoked the lot,
And then stubbed the dog-end out in the ash tray.
We thought it was all over,
It was now.