Lament

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Lament

by

Norman “Yagi” Colley

(Fepow - Kobe, Japan)

 

The scene was a store in any large town,

Where, for six copper coins you could buy,

Almost anything under the Sun,

From a pen to an Old School Tie.

It was Saturday night and the crowd was dense,

Though Christmas had long since passed.

The people were happy and free from care,

For the war was over at last,

The Store was as busy as it could be,

And the building was packed to its full,

And still they came in through the door marked “PUSH”,

And out of the door marked “PULL”.

 

In the midst of this gay and happy throng,

There moved a man, all alone.

A regular “Lone Wolf” type was he,

With a face as impressive as stone.

His eye was as quick as a lightening flash,

As he gazed on each stall in turn,

And over and over, he muttered some words

In a language no White man should learn:

“KANSUME and SATO; YOROSHI; TAUSAN”

He murmured, his eye full of greed,

“I can swop some of this at a bowl for a roll,

And by God! I´ll have a feed”.

 

He shuffled along the side of the stalls,

Again and again he would mumble.

Then all of a sudden, he stopped dead in his tracks,

For the shock of the sight made him stumble.

There on the right,´neath the electric light,

Standing full and serene mid this RAMP

Was a stall of Roast Peanuts!

“My God” he exclaimed, then under his breath, “NANKING MAME”.

He soon went to work, like the trained thief he was

And the nuts disappeared just like majic.

Then a tap on the back warned him of a trap,

And the look on his face was quite tragic.

 

“Will you come with me Sir” said a voice,

Its owner a large Store Detective,

“For every stall you´ve been to today,

When you´ve left has been slightly defective”.

He followed the `tec with a confident smirk,

Looking neither to left nor to right,

But over and over he said to himself:

“I wonder who´s Tenko tonight?”

In the Managers office, he stood for a search,

And there on the desk was arrayed

A KILM quite empty, a spoon and a fork,

And that was the contents displayed.

 

“I can see a mistake has been made Sir”

Said the Manager, giving a bow,

“And if I can repay - in no matter what may,

I beg of you Sir, tell me how”.

“What´s over is over and done with”

Said our hero, “I don´t give a hoot”

And just as he spoke, some vital string broke,

And he stood ankle-deep in Roast Fruit.

Pound after pound rolled down to the ground,

From the sleeves of the coat he was wearing.

But the `tec and the Manager said not a word,

For they were too busy, just staring.

 

Then the `tec broke the spell with a hell of a yell,

And their victim sprang to attention,

“FUSHIMBAN is all INYONASHI” he cried.

What the Boss said I don´t mention.

They wheeled him away to the nearest clink -

In front of a Magistrate bloke.

Their victim stood steady and said not a word,

Yoou could see that his spirit was broke.

So the sentence was passed, six months of the best,

And the Warders were pointing the way,

When their victim got ratty and said: “CHOTA MATTI”,

There´s something I´d like to say.

If there´s any ex-HURYOS amongst you,

Please take this warning from me,

`Cos `BATEYE´, `CHINLESS´ and `CHARLIE´

Have nothing on this C.I.D.

So if you go shopping in Woolworth´s,

Use a crutch-bag, your shoulders or knees,

But for God´s sake, let this be a warning,

And don´t put stuff in your sleeves!

 

The above was the work of Norman “YAGI” Colley, Cpl. R.E.´s in Kobe House POW Camp, Ito Machi, Sanno Miya, Kobe, Japan, 1942 - 1945. This rendition or copy was made by “Ramp” Bowen, Bdr., R.A. who wishes it to be known that this work was solely “Yagi´s”.

`BATEYE´ `CHINLESS´ and `CHARLIE´ were all Japanese guards in Kobe House.

`NANKING MAMI´ - Japanese for Peanuts

`CHOTA MATTI´ - “Wait a minute”

`KANSUME´ - Tinned Food

`SATO´ - Sugar

`YOROSHI´ - O.K. or All Right

`TAKUSAN´ - A Lot - In Quantity

`TENKO´ - Roll Call Officer IN This Instance

 

 

 

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