The year was forty-four, near the end of the Second World War,
There were many things we learnt to do without,
There was one particular can, we didn’t want in our tiny hands
And it contained the dreaded Brussels Sprout .

As I was only ten , with many things I didn’t ken,
There were others who knew much more than I did,
So I sought a brother out,and asked “What’s a Brussell Sprout?”,
He says “I think it’s a little Belgian kid”.

Our Old Man was real smart, but with money loath to part,
He was well up with life and all it’s lurks,
As well he had this Mate? who’s just as up to date,
Who managed to find things where he works.

The Old Man’s high with glee, he’s got something nearly free,
As he stacked the box into a wooden barrow,
He pushed it out the back, into the laundry shack,
This wooden crate covered with the black broad arrows.

Us kids just stood around, with the box there on the ground,
It all looks quite mysterious to me,
For there’s nothing on the side, to say just what’s inside,
Just some tins with letters marked D-D.

The Old Man takes a hold, of a tin that’s painted gold,
Us kids worked up so much we really want to shout,
“C’mon Pa”, we all exclaim, “Have the contents got a name?”,
“Strewth! we’ve got a box of Brussels Sprouts”,

Us kids ain’t got no Mum, to make the kitchen hum,
On most days the tucker’s pretty crook,
With the cooking up to us, the results are sometimes suss,
So we’ll open a tin and take a little look.

The Old Man poked the opener in, the golden painted tin,
Out came a sound like someone being throttled,
Us kids were really scared, we were just not quite prepared,
For someone to let a Genie from a bottle.

And then the smell arose, and singed the hairs up in our nose,
As heaving stomachs headed for the sink,
“Good Gawd!”, the Old Man cried, eying the stuff inside,
Round things sort of purply, browny pink.

Us kids must look around, for somewhere to go to ground,
For the gas was permeating everywhere,
With twenty-three tins still sealed, to the Old Man we appealed,
“Don’t make us eat them if you really care”.

“Aw!C”mon now you kids, this tucker’s cost me quids,
“And someone’s got to eat the bloody things ”
He threatened us with the belt, but they tasted like they smelt,
And we’re well prepared to bare our tiny limbs.

Yes! we copped the belt, through our joy it hardly felt,
That night we ate some taters and some mince,.
Going in them spurious sprouts, smelt even worser coming out,
And I ain’t never,ever ate one since.

© Dudley C. Pye A.M, J.P.

[from the story, Six of the Best]