• SQUADDIES

    There’s a street for ex-soldiers from all generations,
    from Normandy to Bosnia by way of the Falklands.
    It’s serene and peaceful with a green in the middle.
    Everyone leaves their door off the latch
    and every handshake hides a private smile.
     
    It’s the kind of place you could imagine as heaven,
    if you lived in the Fifties and had no imagination.
    There’s barely a scream, when it’s daylight at least,
    and the nights are submerged in alcohol and Valium.
     
    Everyone makes their beds in the morning
    with a precision that comes from years of training.
    Not many of them go to the doctor
    and pitifully few are still with their wives.
     
    Some have become adept over the course of the years
    at making small talk with the emergency services,
    but the sight of an argument can move them to tears
    and they all lock their windows on Bonfire Night.
     
    Most have hung on to some kind of weapon,
    although the only thing they fight for now is their pension,
    and to maintain some kind of rapport with their children.
    They don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance of going to heaven,
     
    And that’s what haunts the look in the eyes
    of men who’ve seen chance toss a coin with their lives,
    and as long as we’re happy to send more to replace them,
    we should wear our poppies with shame,
    not pride.
     
    Rob Gee