Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Mail

British Forces Post Office - Posties - God Bless Them.

A while ago Frank reminded me of the importance of snail mail. This took me back to a poem I wrote a couple of years ago about the mail reaching troops in the field, and the effect it had on morale.

I will always remember the sickly sweet smell of the letters (whoever they came from) after they had spent a week or two in a bag with hundreds of letters from wives and sweethearts who had each splashed a little perfume on their letters to their loved ones.

I hope you enjoy the poem.

The Mail

The Posties came up trumps today,
a sack of pure morale
delivered to the burnt out shed
in which we are corralled.

Girlfriends, wives, mums and dads
have written to their loved ones
and even Gaz is smiling
with a letter from his sons.

The corporal had a laugh.
As he dished the letters out
‘Private Smith……give that to Jones.”
and laughter rang about.

Chalky’s and Trish had a baby girl,
The first photos came today.
He must have shown everyone,
they’ve called her Anna-May.

Yozzer got his third Dear John
He seems to have the knack;
Of making women love him
but then they knock him back!

Danny uses a dicta-phone
to communicate with his kin.
Another tape arrived today
and now he’s plugged right in.

Swampy got a letter
With a drawing by his son
A picture of his daughter
flying kites with her mum.

Two parcels for; ‘a soldier’
went to Big Pete and Don.
Don’s had photos of a girl
and she had nothing on.

An envelope with SWALK on
is lying on Jim’s bed,
when his stag finishes
his smile will split his head.

The sickly mix of perfumes
which mingled in the sack
have tainted the tax man’s letter
perhaps I’ll send it back.

Yes, the Posties came up trumps today.
These messages from home
remind us that someone loves us
and can reach us wherever we roam.

John Carré Buchanan
18 January 2011


  1. Such a fun but serious poem relating to the forces of today. I once had a penpal in the army when I was younger but lost all contact after a few years. I would love to be able to do that again and your post brought back all the memories.

    I just can't imagine how they must feel when they get a letter from someone who cares, whilst they are doing all they can to protect our freedoms. Lovely poem John.

    1. Thank you Rum-Punch Drunk, Mail is one of the most important things to get right when soldiers are away from home. It really can make someone's day. Sometimes we would even get the occasional parcel with bits and bobs from home in it, they would often be addressed to 'A (Male / Female) British Soldier, Afghanistan,' or some such place, and were always appreciated.

  2. It's interesting how you describe and remember the smell, you sure don't get that with email! Great poem, and an intriguing topic.

    1. Thanks Trademark Guy, It always amused me how that sickly sweet smell followed the poasties around. No matter who your own mail was from it always bore the scent of a thousand girlfriends;-)


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