This humorous poem gives a revealing peek into daily prison camp life—and behavior!

It is one of three poems by H. Stewart in Robert Dickinson’s journal, “Servigliano Calling.”

It wouldn’t quite do for the Ritz!

I’ve noticed since being “prigioneri” here,
That manners have gone by the board,
One often sees things done, quite coolly, that which
As a civvy one would have abhorred.
And really, we ought to remember these things,
Or one day our folk will have fits,
It hardly would do for the Berkeley, old boy,
It wouldn’t quite do for the Ritz!

To sit down to dinner without any shirt,
Is a habit of ours, I’m afraid,
And cleaning our teeth in a dixie of stew
And shouting rude words on parade.
You should say to the man eating lemons next door,
As pips in your coffee he spits,
It hardly would do for the Berkeley, old boy,
It wouldn’t quite do for the Ritz!

To drop your sardine oil all down your shirt,
Is a habit I greatly deplore,
Depositing helpings of fat you can’t eat,
All over the barrack room floor,
The rush for “backohees”, as cooks throw out bones,
is sufficient to scare out ones wits,
It hardly would do for the Berkeley, old boy,
It wouldn’t quite do for the Ritz!

To have to be told to wear boots when we dine,
Is all very well for “K.Gs.”
And whilst, “ses-a-ses”, I have noticed a lot,
Of the fellows go hunting for fleas.
And every prisoner gets raucous applause
When a loud blurting noise he emits,
It hardly would do for the Berkeley, old boy,
It wouldn’t quite do for the Ritz!