18 March 2008


We reminisced and traded names,
relived a moment’s time as soldiers
once again; too old and bold to tell it
all for true just as it was – although
we knew exactly who was wrong and
why, and swore to you we’d never lie.

She’d heard it all before, a dozen
times at least or more; mighty deeds
of derring-do that sounded true. She
asked one day – can you recall the boy
who died? The young cadet who played
in barracks with a hand grenade?

We shook our heads and sighed, a sadly
troubled soldiers’ sigh – did not deny we
knew but looked away. The wound has
stayed, we all recall a dreadful day. No
fable there to eulogise except a truth,
that life is easy bled and Hell let lose.

Estranged, the conversation changed to
mundane things, the farm and weather
reckonings, a holiday. Wordlessly the
uniforms were packed away – creases
eased, ribbons dressed and laid to rest.
We’ll reminisce, perhaps, another day.
© 19 March 2008, I. D. Carswell