Marine A(tkins)

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,

And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains 
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier...
So-oldier of the Queen!"

- from 'The Young British Soldier' by Rudyard Kipling 

An elite "lure" to trap Taliban fighters into being shot
Always seeming to be the only one being shot at
Tired, stressed and also grieving home and away
An invisible bullet or landmine away 
From being dead: scalped: beheaded

Frustrated facing long periods of inertia
Temperatures of up to 50C - another thing making it hard to sleep
Interrupted by the terrifying violence of the heat of battle
Then relentless fear 

And apart from the lads

God-forsaken so Allah's mercy can't overcome his wrath

A soldier's not an automaton - do you understand?
In the most dangerous square mile in Afghanistan
Strange foreign chopped fruit in the branches of trees
Legs are almost always booby-trapped

The night terrors go on

Based on

◄ Jet Set Go

new free online social network from the poetry school ►


Profile image

M.C. Newberry

Sat 7th Dec 2013 16:33

I don't recall any evidence that the insurgent
shot by Marine A had actually surrendered. And,
if not, he was still a threat, notwithstanding
the IEDs, the beheadings and all the rest of the
stuff lying in wait for a soldier doing his duty
in that primitive hell-hole.
The Pontious Pilate proceedings that followed
washed its hands of the remote reality a world
apart in so many ways from the safety of a British courtroom - and begs the question "As this was
committed in a theatre of war in a foreign
land, why was a Military Tribunal not left to
decide if the man's name be made public and
his family exposed to possible danger in a U.K.
that is increasingly fractured in social, religious and patriotic terms? Courts seem all
too ready to prohibit "identification" in many
cases yet the highest appears totally inept in
its responsibility to those who defend the
country that allows its existence.

Profile image


Fri 6th Dec 2013 20:29

John has said it for me also. Horrific situation which is unfortunately a reality for some.

Profile image

Dave Bradley

Fri 6th Dec 2013 17:19

John's said it for me. Strewth!

Profile image

John Coopey

Fri 6th Dec 2013 16:10

A vivid and terrifying image of what we in our beds have no conception.
And a fitting update on Kipling's take.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message