Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pro Deo, Regina at Patria

Blows rained down
monotonous as a metronome.
Each fist, each boot,
each rifle butt struck home.
A coil of agony bloomed
on cowering flesh and bone
and, should he dare to moan
the rain came down again until
he lay as still and silent as the stone.

And did those bloodied boots
march in perfect time
through some fast fading garrison town
where dizzy patriots lined the route
to welcome home their own
and did the fanfare of brass drown
each gnawing doubt?

Each night you watch his body
Twist and toss and turn
As through the lonely hours
You trace his memories burn
Across a ruined face.

Can’t transport you back to that place.
The walls and the floor of the cell
long since sanitised, hosed clean.
No one with the stomach to tell
what happened there.
All evidence of hell expunged
save for this trampled soil,
just one more unmarked grave.

Latin scholars come to my aid! Not sure of my title gramatically speaking, so corrections welcome. I think it is important to set these homecoming parades in context. They are designed as sops to the serving troops who will soon be forgotten and left to rot, suffering from the stress caused by what they have seen and done and of course they also serve to airbrush out all the civilian victims of military action. We all know about attrocities committed by the British Army, but name me some soldiers who have been brought to justice for committing them.


  1. Good poem. I am a fan of rhyme.

    I publish a small poetry ezine at http://www.eatapeachpoetry.com
    feel free to submit!

  2. Very good and graphic work.