Billy Twice


The Lords entrenched in Parliament
And men of cash advance
Still drank Bordeaux with Roquefort cheese
As Wilhelm swallowed France
While soldiers' tinned meat once a week
Was spiced with mustard gas.

Billy Williams could eat a horse
Whose mane was full of lice,
Machine gunned down in no man's land
Where Tommies called him Billy Twice
When he wasn't shooting Huns,
Masked in his breath device.

He knew the peril gas could be
Beneath the hills in Wales,
But since mankind made coal for war,
Mine canary silence pales
When men in trenches make the sound
A collier's widow wails,

The cry of which he knew too well
Since he, a miner's son,
Began to dig when he was twelve
From dawn until the day was done
For businessmen and British Peers
Whose war he later won.

The war to end all wars began
Much like a dray horse gait,
But near its end God fearing men
Looked up to heaven much too late
To pray when shells reigned over them
There'd be a Pearly Gate,

A fairy tale he once believed
With paradise as prize,
But war again in '45
Was hell on earth for Billy twice
Each time the telegram he read
Said dead was Billy Thrice.

Inspired by Ken Follet's novel, FALL OF GIANTS

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