Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Squaddies

The following is a poem written by a man I met a couple of years ago and got to know better this year when he stayed with us during the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. He wrote this poem for the BBC who played it once and have said they never will again. It always comes to my mind this time of year. Click here to visit Rob's Homepage


Squaddies
There’s a street for ex-squaddies from all generations,
from Normandy to Bosnia by way of the Falklands.
It’s serene and peaceful with a green in the middle.
Everyone leaves their door off the latch
and every handshake hides a private smile.

It’s the kind of place you could imagine as Heaven
if you lived in the Fifties and had no imagination.
There’s barely a scream, when it’s daylight at least,
and the nights are submerged in alcohol and Valium.

Everyone makes their bed in the morning
with a precision that comes from years of training.
Not many of them go to the doctor
and pitifully few are still with their wives.

Some have become adept over the course of the years
at making small talk with the emergency services,
but the sight of an argument can move them to tears
and they all lock their windows on bonfire night.

Most have hung on to some kind of weapon,
although the only thing they fight for now is their pension
and to maintain some kind of rapport with their children.
They don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of going to heaven,

and that’s what haunts the look in the eyes
of men who’ve seen chance toss a coin with their lives,
and as long as we’re happy to send more to replace them,
we should wear our poppies with shame, not pride.



2 comments:

WingsofWax said...

That's horrid. True. Haunting. But horrid none the less.

My grandfather was a Japanese POW. I've got friends who've been to Bosnia, Afghanistan... The same is true about them that was true about gramps. I wouldn't call it shame, really. But a certain dismay, and a desparate need to keep the rest of the world from seeing what they have.

Jazmine Rhomyk-Rountree said...

if anything, this poem should be a wake up call to those responsible for the vetrans and the soldiers coming home...
I will still wear a poppy with pride, as to me it means that I can exist. If it weren't for the soldiers then, my grandmother would not be around today- therefor, no me. Complete story in my blog. ;)