Marxist. Trade Unionist. Socialist-feminist. Author. Poet. Speaker. Tutor. RMT ex-Exec. Workers' Liberty. Autie. Bi. PUFC fan.

The Subaltern's Swansong

Submitted by Janine on 20 February 2018 at 17:58

- a rewrite of John Betjeman's The Subaltern's Love Song 

Young Duncan H Dunn was the subaltern's son
Born then withdrawn when the courting was won
Conceived in the back of the subaltern's car
His dad had not planned on it going so far

There's many a cad who has had all his fun
Who quickly grows tired after firing his gun
So he spoke to his girl and he ended it calmly
And packed up his bag and went back to the army

And soon the respectable people would shun
That wanton young hussy, Miss J Hunter Dunn
They whispered at church she had fallen from grace
She was gently advised to move out of the place

And was ushered away by a nurse and a nun
To a house in the country until it was done
Where fallen young women were hidden and covered
And their babies were taken and given to others

She was cleaned and demeaned by the cold and the rain
As she worked for her board then in fear and in pain
She gave birth to a beauty of seven pound one
And she named her young bastard Master Duncan H Dunn

And before the planned theft of the child could take shape
New baby and mum made a daring escape
And hitched to the city and found them a room
Where she built up a life with the fruit of her womb

She scrubbed and she mopped and she wove and she spun
And put food on the plate of her fatherless son
And he grew up to know what's important in life
And it wasn't to be a mere subaltern's wife

The subaltern's trouble conceived by his courting
Must surely at some time rebound and come haunt him
But out on the battlefield marched with his kit
He stepped on a mine and was blown into bits

Duncan H Dunn, oh Duncan H Dunn
No childhood of tennis and golf clubs and fun
No walks through the garden past grandpa's euonymus
His family tree is remaining anonymous

No Hillmans or Rovers or Austins for him
His rank was the lowest, his prospects were dim
But he grew and he thrived and took after his mother
He worked for his living and looked after others

Now, 'subaltern' means of inferior status
Oppressed and detested by snobs and by haters
But the boy and his mum whom society reject
Are better than them in most every respect