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Friday, 18 October 2013

Pulse Rates


Military lives are often summed up by two maxims; "Rush to wait" and "Months of boredom punctuated by a few minutes of intense activity."

This poem explores the juxtaposition between boredom and activity and the effect it has on the individual.

I hope you like it.

Pulse Rates

Crouched in the shade of a tree
pulse rate; fifty three.
I watch a goat herd amble by
as the sun climbs in the sky

Hid behind the tree
pulse rate; a hundred and sixty three.
Listen to rounds spin by
as the Taliban let fly.

Crawl away in the muck
pulse rate; who give a flying f*#@
Dust flies on the hillock nearby
as our gun team lay down heavy reply.

Lain on the bank of the Wadi
Pulse rate; a hundred and forty.
As we suppress; the left flank move
Terry Terrorist to remove.

Sat on a box back at base
Pulse rate; eighty eight.
We’ve been debriefed and had some scoff
Now it’s time to knock off.

Crashed out on a saggy camp cot
Pulse rate: quite a lot.
Thoughts keep flying through my head
Today, I was lucky, I’m not dead.

John Carré Buchanan
29 August 2011

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Off To Gaol

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The following poem is based on a true event which took place on the parade ground at RMAS as we prepared to pass out as young officers. The Academy Sergeant Major (one of the most senior Warrant Officers in the British Army) was taking the rehearsal. The Colour Sergeants, who had trained us, hovered in the background; probably hoping that their platoons didn’t embarrass them.

Drill was for most a real pain. That said, the comments these men made during drill sessions were almost always imaginative and funny. When on form Warrant Officers or SNCOs would often leave those not being verbally abused trying hard not to laugh.

Off To Gaol

We’re on parade again,
another rehearsal.
Someone moves.
A shout roars over our heads;
“Colour, gaol that man.”
The quick click-clack
of hobnails on tarmac,
A raised arm
finger pointing down
like Damocles’s sword
“This one Sir?”
“No
- but he will do.”

John Carré Buchanan
02 October 2013