Bush Bog

This poem was salvaged from a scrap piece of lined A4 paper handwritten half in pen and then finished in pencil – I can’t recall but my biro must have run out. 

I do remember writing this rather crude piece in 1990 on a rain-soaked day in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area near Rockhampton in Queensland Australia. The Exercise had been practically brought to a standstill due to the relentless rain so with nothing to do for hours on end I wrote… 

I expect most military personnel could relate to partaking in a “bush bog” because there are times when it just isn’t practical to exercise with real toilets nearby or cart them into a remote training area. 

Even for the modern-day military with all the environmental rules and regulations imposed on them, there are times when a calling of nature will not wait for a shiny seat and porcelain bowl. 

That’s when the ever-useful entrenching tool (ET) in one hand, a roll of toilet paper in the other and a purposeful stride to a secluded spot (preferably several hundred metres away from camp) comes in handy.        

The following poem tells the typical story of a soldier doing just that – taking a bush bog. 


Bush Bog

I’ve just sat back

And with a grin

A burden that lingered 

Has gone from within.

Lest you guess it was easy

No problem, all couth

Although best left unsaid 

I should outline the truth. 

The track I trekked

And hills I hiked

To find a tree

And place I liked.

My shovel in hand

Rifle in other

I headed for scrub 

To give me some cover.

With shovel underfoot

And buttocks held tight

I dug into rock 

with all my might.

The earth was hard

Impatient I became

The deeper I dug 

The harder the pain.

Hole now finished

But work not done

I dropped my tweeds

And bared my bum.

Teeth strongly viced

Relief came fast

“You beauty” I said

Job’s done at last.

My right hand free

And left as support

I reached…

But where has it gone?

I thought…

Then down the hill

I began to peer

Only to confirm

My gravest fear.

The roll had rolled

Oh, I was livid!

If this was a lesson

It has been delivered.

Now, I know you think

That I was beat

With no dunny paper

And a turd at my feet.

But I’m telling this story

Let me make it quite clear

When the bush is my element 

I’m as swift as a deer.

So I checked my surroundings

Like a good soldier’s taught

To improvise when it’s needed

And to action without thought.

Then bang! It hit me

Like a 240 volt spark

The tree that was near me

By crikey it had bark! 

Yes the texture was rough

Though gingerly I wiped

It still took more skin

Then I expected or liked.

When I was finished

Tender and raw 

Is the best description

Of the parts that were sore.

Still, relief was there

And without a doubt

If I was forced to choose

I’d prefer it was out.

If you think I want pity

For a bog near a tree

I want you to know

Don’t feel sorry for me.

Because I do not ponder

What I did decide

To earn the misfortune

Of a burning backside.

But I do kind of wonder

Even if you couldn’t care

Why they just don’t make

Toilet rolls that are square? 

By Mark Valencia – 1990  


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