Saturday, 27 September 2014

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go.

Image Source:

There is a romantic image of troops setting off to war in which marching men pass through cheering crowds being bombarded with well-wishes and flowers.

In my experience departures on Ops were more likely to be a lonely, thought filled, walk in the middle of the night. If the Quartermaster had done his job correctly he would have indented for cold and wet weather to maximise the benefit!

The walk would be followed by brief periods of frenetic activity interspersed with a lot of hanging around, soldiers call this; 'Rush to Wait'.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go.

He silences the alarm before she digs him in the ribs,
dresses swiftly in the dark and creeps downstairs
taking care to avoid the squeaky stair.
Quietly he steps into the cool nocturnal gloom.
His breath hangs on the chill night air.
With practiced ease he swings the Bergen to his back.
Turns a key in the lock and pauses,
eyes glued to the unlit glass
mind focused on the sleeping heads inside.
He turns, shrugs and fades into the shadows;
absorbed by the night.
All that betrays his presence
is the measured sound of boots upon the road.
Other humpbacked figures appear and disappear
fading in and out of light cones
cast by lamps which illuminate
coils of razor wire on the fence top
as it runs on in to the mist.
At the barrier he shows his id and joins the throng.
Rush to wait......
Time ticks past, an hour in her arms;
lost.
He knows not when, or if,
he will hold her again.
Name called, he boards the bus,
fills from the back, sits, eyes closed,
sleep envelopes
a warrior off to war.

John Carré Buchanan
12 September 2014

4 comments:

  1. Splendid poem, John, exposing a element of soldiery that few of us focus on: a glimpse behind the scenes, so to speak. Very visual and atmospheric too, which I like. Also thought provoking in these troubled times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Richard, thank you for your kind words.

      Delete
  2. This one really got the hairs on the back of the neck - why did we always have to do this when it was cold, misty and 0300 - excellent John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hovis, glad it was not just me this happened to.

      Delete

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

Visitors






Free counters!



Popular Posts

Blogs I Enjoy Following

  • Missing My Mum - Diane Scantlebury - We never quite got on My mum and I, For I was always A daddy’s girl, But I miss her most On Mother’s day, She was the grit In our family pearl, She’d make u...
    1 hour ago
  • Kentucky Racial Tension - No racial tension In Lexington Kentucky Just tense & intense races Black & white race Cat & rat race Foot Ford train & plane race I am lost amidst this
    1 day ago
  • The Soothsayer - I’m a gypsy roaming turquoise sunsets Fixing pots and pans with artisan hands, A troubadours quill with poems to scribe Wandering psychedelic mystic lands: ...
    4 days ago
  • The Answer - "Am i scared to die?" You ask me Well, I am i must confess In answer to your question then A honest answer "Yes" But ask me "Am i scared to live?" Then this ...
    5 days ago
  • NIGHT OF THE HUNTER - Some years ago, before moving to the coast at Bordeaux Bay, I lived in the Parish of St Peters, one of the few remaining rural parishes. I had, then, two yo...
    1 week ago
  • International Women's Day - A few wee lines to celebrate being a woman in a modern world. At least, here....not every woman is quite so lucky.
    2 weeks 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...
    3 months ago
  • The soul... - Photo - Barbara Allen 2016 The soul starts out on high, in a peaceful place, and then at birth it comes down, to inhabit a body, and is swept into a ragin...
    3 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 ...
    8 months 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...
    2 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