WOODBINES

It must have been quite a drag

all that business being in the mud

hanging around fields and asking

a wounded Tommy if he needed

a fag – or could he help them write

a letter before the stretcher bearers

came – even if they were likely to in

all this mud – he might even ask about

a sweetheart back in  Blighty who by

now, after all this time – probably had

her nighty off for some other poor

sod before they sailed across the

channel to reinforce their trenches

with mud up to their bloody ears.

So don’t even talk about the stench

not with all the dead Frenchies over

in the closest field – toes up and

getting all the mice a go go go and

some of the officers saying snow

and ice might soon be on the way

probably by tomorrow afternoon

and not a spoon in sight to stir your

tea. He was a pleasant enough chap

the one in khaki and a dog collar who

listened to the groans and moans or

threw a stone or two at moving things

I suppose it helped him keep on top

of it – the nerves I mean – takes guts

armed only with The New Testament

with Jerry all around the place and him

a man of God – poor sod – can’t even

swear or curse like us – but he never

makes a fuss whenever we do see, so

you shut up you anti churchman over

in the corner you – and eat your luke

warm can of Irish Stew with flecks of

dodgy dirt floating round in it.

He was a minister of the church you

see – we called him Woodbine Willie

but nothing silly about him whatsoever.

Kept his cool however close the shelling

came and men were calling out for Mam

holding their stomachs in and he went

round with grace and calmness oozing

out of him. Try not to cry he said to one

poor guy – that eye is hanging by a thread

 

 

 

 

 

◄ SILENCE

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Comments

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Peter Taylor

Sun 18th Aug 2019 06:26

Hello again, Philipos.

What a great poem – as real as any I've seen from the genre and a fine piece of writing in itself. I'm looking forward to catching up with your material.

Peter T

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