Colin F. Jones

IN THE FIELD

I lie here in the darkness listening to the monsoon rain,
My clothes are wet and soggy but about that I don’t complain,
In my cupped hands a cigarette is burning I smother its bright glow,
Beneath my cold and clammy body where its light will not show.
Its pitch black no stars are shining, And I’m too tired to sleep,
And the water rising around me is now almost two feet deep.
My rubber mattress long since punctured is buried in the mud;
My rifle rests upon forked supports made from two ‘bits’ of wood.
The pit is just wide enough to fit me; worms from the walls do seep,
So I guess if I’m unlucky; if I’m killed they’ll have someone to eat,
I’ve got two layers of sandbags above me with a hatch at the end,
Above my head where the rats leap in and where I must ascend,
Whenever the tannoy crackles with a call to man the guns,
One scrambles from his readymade grave; grabs his rifle and runs.

The mud is thick and very sticky clinging to our jungle boots,
So doing things can be tricky mid these wet night time shoots.
The gun looks dead and dormant in the darkness and the rain,
As through the tannoy comes the orders ‘tis a fire mission once again.
A round is loaded, the breach slammed shut, a loud metallic sound,
As in my breast as I call fire my heart begins to pound.
The gun leaps up and drives the trail spades deep into the mud,
With cordite swirling all around the recoil causing a minor flood
The breach is opened its gaping mouth awaiting another feast,
As the empty case is tossed aside; well that one was fired at least
Another round is driven home the blast is loud and… clear
And someone loses someone they love, someone very dear.
For the field gun is an “evil” beast served by a seven man crew,
Designed to maim and kill with rounds exploding terrible and true