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War Habits


Folding up your kit,

Cleaning out your gun,

Marching side by side,

Writing home to Mum.


Lobbing a grenade,

Fingers in your ears,

Larking with your mates,

Sinking twenty beers.


Blow the bastards up,

Keep your powder dry,

Punch the freezing air

As you watch them die.


Paying off the tarts,

Clearing body parts,

Bullet in the head:

Sorry mate, you’re dead.


◄ Language Lessons

Leaving Bangkok ►


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Stephen Gospage

Wed 26th Apr 2023 21:39

Thank you, Stephen.

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Stephen Atkinson

Wed 26th Apr 2023 08:29

Simplistic & brilliant 👏

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Stephen Gospage

Wed 26th Apr 2023 07:58

I am flattered that this poem has struck a chord with so many readers. My thanks to Leon, Keith, Manish, Graham, John C and John B.
I tried to make it direct and to evoke the unavoidable routine of war, as well as the awful conclusion which is so final yet so banal. I take your point, Graham, and I can see how that comes about. I'll think about revisions.

Thanks to Nigel for liking this poem.

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John Botterill

Tue 25th Apr 2023 18:55

Sums up the attitudes of many, Stephen. Written with great economy of style. A classic, in my view. 😎

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John Coopey

Tue 25th Apr 2023 15:23

All the more effective for the simplicity of thought, language and form. One of you best, Stephen.

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Graham Sherwood

Tue 25th Apr 2023 14:04

This is a great piece Stephen. Succinct, clean and clinical with no soft edges. I am loathed to recommend changes but I couldn't help but read this in the first person, as if I was talking to myself.
As always your finger is on the pulse as we await the next decisive change in this bloody mess!

Manish Singh Rajput

Tue 25th Apr 2023 11:17

You have mastered yourself at war poems Stephen. Another fine piece of work from you. As Keith said, light hearted yet very effective.
Thank you.

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keith jeffries

Tue 25th Apr 2023 10:00

This poem may come across as being light hearted but as one who served in the Army for ten years it also rings true. Thank you again Stephen for another War Poem. You seem to excel in the this genre.

<Deleted User> (35565)

Tue 25th Apr 2023 09:14

You have a great skill in writing war poems Stephen well done sir


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