The Sale

Mary Gilmore


I sold a pup, said the Englishman,
I sold a pup for a pound.
For I am the very best Englishman,
That ever has yet been found.

The pup I sold was the pup of my son,
But that didn't matter to me.
For I took him and sold him, string and all
To a bold bad Japanese.

I slapped my pocket to feel the pound,
And lovely the sound it made
And I laughed to to think of my son's dismay,
For he was the one who paid.

"The Sale" was written by Mary Gilmore in 1942, after the writing of "Major-General Bennett and His True Men"; it referred to the 15,000 Australian soldiers who were imprisoned by the Japanese following the fall of the much-touted and supposedly "impregnable" British base at Singapore. The poem was submitted to the Weekly, who declined to publish it.
[Source: Courage A Grace: A Biography Of Dame Mary Gilmore by W.H. Wilde, 1988, page 362]

Fire of the Southern Cross: A Collection of Poetry for Australian Nationalists

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