The Bayonet In The Shed [REPOST with audio]
I'm reposting this poem with the audio I recorded of it (as a song) to commemorate my father and the other soldiers who fought during WW2 in Asia - The Forgotten Army of Burma - for the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day
The Bayonet In The Shed
He put it there in forty nine,
in a woodworm riddled drawer,
wrapped it in a greasy rag.
A remnant from the war.
On top of it he laid his medals,
nothing more was said
until the day my father
took the bayonet from the shed.
We had pestered many times
and he had said ‘perhaps’
when we asked him if he’d killed
any Krauts or any Japs.
His eyes fixed on something far away,
as though searching for the dead,
but we found out what we wanted
when he took the bayonet from the shed.
He was a sergeant major
in the hell hole that was Burma,
where the Japanese snipers
would target you on a murmur.
He was proud of the campaign
and the boys that he had led
but he never ever talked
about the bayonet in the shed.
He didn’t hate all foreigners
and he said the greatest worker
that he had ever met in the war
was ‘good old Johnny Gurkha’.
That being brave wasn’t about killing,
he was happy when they fled,
then he went down the garden
and took the bayonet from the shed.
He was gone a short while
and when we saw him coming back
he was no longer marching proudly
along a heroes track.
We witnessed the aged warrior
return with heavy tread,
shoulders slumped in surrender
with the bayonet from the shed.
He moved the cloth reverently
and laid the medals by its side
and for the first time in my life
we watched as my father cried.
We sat with him and looked at it
and thought of bodies that had bled
after being introduced to
the bayonet in the shed.