Friday, 7 February 2014

Digging In

Image Source:

I went swimming this morning and, once again, found myself knocking off lengths with an internal dialogue in my mind. The irrational voice begged me to stop and go back to bed and opiates. The rational side of my mind outlined the health and pain management benefits of exercise. As the dialogue continued I just kept swimming, and dug in.

I found myself thinking of other times when I have had to ‘dig in’ to get something done in spite of pain or discomfort. Once out of the pool and in full ‘recovery mode’ I kept thinking about ‘digging in’ and my mind wandered to the wilds of the Brecon Beacons. This resulted in the following poem, I hope you like it;

Digging In

Horizontal sleet bombards bare faced mountain slopes.
Lines of iced water score the view,
Through this scratched lens, the tableau appears featureless,
monochrome boulders interspersed with clumps of grass.
Here in this barren wilderness, they dig.
Shovel and pick toil in the rock strewn soil.
Hands slip and blister on mud covered helves
as the steel glances, bucks and jams again and again.
Slowly, painfully the bodies sink into the mountain.
The relentless internment matched only by driven rain.
The light fades, and somewhere out in that cold dark night,
they dig on.
In the morning's steely grey light,
tired eyes peer, from beneath mud streaked brows,
into that same rain scratched lens,
as they wait to move out,
then dig in again.

John Carré Buchanan
07 February 2014


  1. I really like the free verse stuff you're writing lately. Nice work. It's straightforward, honest and heartfelt, and that comes through so much better when one isn't constrained by rhyme and meter.

    1. Andy, Thank you for your kind comment. I am glad you like the new style. I guess that I have Susan Jones to thank for convincing me to move forward and away from end rhyme. It will be interesting to see where it takes me.

  2. Ahh Digging in - done it a few times - but for me digging in will always be about a certain exercise at Thetford RMAS 86/3!! Keep on digging JB

    1. Yes, I remember Ex Marathon Chase, that was a chilly one, first and only time I was on an exercise that was called in from the cold. (Although I did do several that were much more uncomfortable) I almost used a photo I took from my trench looking out over the snow for this post. I will never forget our friends from Belize and Oman turn ashen grey as the temperature dropped through the floor. Great Memories.

    2. Ha - I especially remember Stevie Beek from the Jamaican Defence Force suffering. Had colder, more uncomfortable exercises and deployments, but none when we were forced to use circa 1958 kit!! Good old Sandhurst - sorry tiny bit sidetracked from the poem - excellent!! Always enjoy your poems when I can hear your defiance!!

    3. Them be the days..... Thanks for your continued support.

  3. Oh yes, that 'irrational' voice continuously lurks in the background waiting to pounce whenever you're trying to do something positive, and going back to bed always seems like the easier option BUT don't do it. In time that voice will find out whose boss and won't appear as often.

    Brilliant poem John. Despite what life throws at you, you just have to keep digging in. Giving up is not an option. Swimming is also a very good way to get exercise.

    1. Thank you Rum Punch Drunk, I am glad you enjoyed the poem.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.


Free counters!

Popular Posts

Blogs I Enjoy Following

  • Frog Army - Diane Scantlebury - From the pool And strangely squelching, A dark horde emerge In clinging black suits, Bare feet slip slapping On wet tiled concrete, As they tip water from Th...
    1 day ago
  • EAST MEETS WEST - My recent visit to Northern Ireland was primarily to attend the wedding of my nephew, Simon, to the lovely Kimiko. The happy couple live in London but for ...
    2 days ago
  • The Alley Cat - My latest poem is in the form of a, *Terza Rima* and to the prompt,* Cat*, for Guernsey Poets August open mic evening. *Link to Guernsey Poets* *The Alley ...
    4 days ago
  • Father - *To the face I can’t quite picture* *To the voice I can't quite hear* *To the smile so lost in memory* *To the moments you were near* *These are the though...
    4 weeks ago
  • Vertical Society Bullshit Jungle - Dear Japan I am tired Of vertical society bullshit This place is a jungle Balding managerial lions Lead prides of chuckling hyena recruits To the watering h...
    4 weeks ago
  • Scarborough Fear - If you should go to Scarborough fair There's a field of heather and thyme Where the breeze shall whisper the name Of a girl that used to be mine In this...
    5 weeks ago
  • Memories - I remember after moving here, all the family loved to visit. It was the place to make memories. Paddling in the river. Feeding the ducks. Watching the lam...
    4 months ago
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll - *I didn't realize how long it has been since I have been here to write* *Change often seems to create a sense of suspended animation* *where the outer wor...
    8 months ago
  • This Job, Not That Job - *What I'm reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon* *What I'm listening to: Incomplete by James Bay* Isn't it fun to spend your birthday ...
    1 year ago
  • ... gloriously exciting! - There is something gloriously exciting about anticipating ones next Chad assignment, sitting in the back of the relative comfort of seat 34J, the the dron...
    3 years ago
  • Time-Out - Every now and again in life we come across a bump or hurdle. It can come in our relationships, our finances or as in my case, health. Right now I've been...
    3 years ago
  • thumbs up - it was a battle. looking back i don't think we ever had a chance, but you don't just give up on a young man in the prime of his life. we had to try. he ...
    3 years ago