"On Such a Night As This"

This is the 7th installment in the John R. Yaws Traveler's Tales series which I am very proud to have as part of my poetry website. Mr. Yaws is the author of "The Wild Geese" and many other poems.  - poetheart 07/27/01

On Such a Night As This
Ah, lass, and 'tis a brutal night-
Too bad for man or beast.
I'd like a flagon of your best-
And bite to eat at least....
No beds? It matters not at all-
I'll sleep on yonder floor-
And wi' me naked blade to hand-
I'll gladly guard yon door.
Who am I? Names don't count a wit
It's what I am that counts
And what I do that pays me way-
And settles me accounts.
A soldier! Aye, all that and more!
A Scotsman if ye please!
I've marched to battle to the pipes-
While English took their ease.
How old? Now lass, I canna say-
I guess I dinna recall.
When I first came the bloody moon-
Was very .very small.
Me, sword ye say? It's different...
I guess it is at that,
Here near the hilt'tis slender-
Where Scottish swords are fat.
And shorter, too: than average.
By near a foot I guess..
But in the heat of battle-
The short sword is the best.
Rufo used to tell us.....
Hmm, where'd I get that name..
I don't recall the rascal's face,
And thats a bloomin' shame.
I watched as Rome was burning-
I know tis hard to b'lieve-
For centuries ha' passed twixt then
And this, so stormy eve...
A, soldier lass, I swear 'tis so.
Upon me very life
By salt, by fire, the banshee's cry;
And by me Khyber knife.
What's that? Ye'd have me move along?
On such a night as this?
I'm daft ye say? I've done gone on?
Ah, ye're mistaken , Miss...
Well, lass, I'll brave the elements
No roof for me poor head....
If not for soldiers such as I
Ye'd all long since be dead.
I marched wi' Ceasar's legions
And fought in the Crusades,
An'many donneybrooks between
Which memory evades.
Aye, leave I will, and curse the place
And curse you pretty Miss,
To turn the Traveler from your door
On such a night as this. .

by John R. Yaws

go back
August 2001, John R. Yaws Interview sections you may visit (click)
Other poetry by John