Gus Hales

Gus is a Veteran of the Falklands War, 1982


Every year on Remembrance Sunday’
I sit in the corner of the British Legion Bar,
Dressed in blazer, shirt, Regimental tie,
And polished shoes, with my head held high.

But deep in my mind, where nobody goes,
I see a wooden cross where the wind of victory lies.
“Three Cheers for Victory,” I hear the politician say.
But you never asked me about my victory.
And, if they did, I would have explained it this way:

It isn’t your flags or emblems of war,
Or the marching of troops past the Palace’s door.
It isn’t Mrs Thatcher on the balcony high,
Reaffirming her pledge to serve or die.
But it’s the look and the pain on a teenager’s face
As he dies for his country, in a far off place.

It’s the guns and the shells and the Phosphorus grenades,
And the wounded and the dead in freshly cut graves,
Or the grieving wife or the fatherless child,
Whose young, tender life will be forever defiled:

Or the alcoholic soldier with a shattered mind,
Who takes the suicide option for some peace to find.
Well, that’s my victory but no one knows,
For its deep in my mind where nobody goes.