Dirty British soldier

by | Dec 20, 2008 | Poetry | 0 comments

Dirty British soldier with an SA 80
Running into contact on a dusty road,
With a chestful of anxieties,
Bravery, terror,
Fear that in his service he might not grow old.

Praying that his mates will give him back-up cover,
Peering through his sights while kneeling in the mire;
Worrying that children,
Dusty, playful,
Might become the victims of exchange of fire.

Feeling rounds impacting on the wall beside him,
Straining round to get the shooter in his sight;
Waiting for the next one:
Death-stroke, End-ex,
Letter Home to Mum and Coffin on the Flight.

(Where did this begin, this bloody situation,
Who made the decision that would put me here?
Do they think I’m Rambo,
Mental, bomb-proof,
Ready to get shot at with no trace of fear?)

Got you now, my enemy, I see you hiding;
Shuffle to the left and then I’ve got you downed.
It’s you or me now, Sunshine:
Goodbye, Goodnight;
Let the breath out slowly and loose off the round.

Body-parts exploding in a spray of pink stuff;
Brains and bones and sinew decorate the wall;
Did I really do that?
Take life? End it?
Play at being God while feeling very small?

Feeling very chuffed that it was him not me, though,
Glowing in the praise that’s shouted from my mate;
Move on to the next one,
Braver, harder,
Time to worry later at my mental state.

Jobbing civil servant with a short agenda
Argues for reducing overspend on arms;
Doesn’t see the danger that will
Leave him, helpless,
Naked and exposed in all the world’s alarms.

Hold him in your thoughts, brave politician,
You it is who put him here to face the flack;
You who make decisions that will
Make him, break him,
Yours to end his life out here or bring him back.

Here is choicest youthfulness of Britain’s store-house,
Born and weaned and nurtured in our empire’s lands.
Choose the fights you ask our sons to
be involved in:
Sacred are the lives you hold within your hands.


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