After Mother scarpered
It was ship’s biscuit
With shrapnel sparkles.

It was hot spurts and gristle
And cold snaps with a wet towel
For stealing a puff from Dad’s fag

Or sneaking a peek at his titty mags.
But we buggers deserved no better.
It was us that made her run off,

With our bickers and our bungles.
It was our bloody cheek.
It was his bleeding knuckles.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated