Echoes of Waterloo

by | Dec 17, 2010 | Poetry | 0 comments

‘The scum of the earth.’ Lord Wellington said.
But it’s fine fellows we have made of them.’
I knew none of that when I picked up my bag
and walked down the road to the station,
where hisses of steam and slamming of doors
seemed to echo my own reservations.
We pulled into Wool, in the late afternoon,
to the shouts of the guard who stood there.
Six wide-eyed boys, stepped down from the train
and as sulphur-filled fog slowly cleared
a corporal, with clipboard, rose up from the mist,
as he sharply barked out. ‘Over here!’
In barracks, at Bovington, over two years
we marched and we drilled and we studied,
polished our kit to John, Ringo and Paul
forging friendships for life that have lasted.
Corporals and Sergeants made boys into men,
until trained, it was time we departed.
Hussars and Lancers and me, a Dragoon
with my cap badge of bright gleaming gold.
Napoleon’s eagle, worn high on my head
full of pride as we trooped past the crowd.
‘The salt of the earth,’ I marched off with
and I knew the old Duke would be proud.


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