Colin F. Jones

INTERMITTENCES

Drift then! Drift like a seagull in sea wind,
Like a leaf… like a tracer!
They give American Marines a purple heart…
Australians get their arses kicked!
If they’ve still got one!
“Keep ya bloody butt down, next time!!”

‘Tis strange that orange crescent,
Curving through the spiralling flares!
The ‘crack’!! – In the ear – hell!
We are Silhouette’s – shadows on a phantom stage,
Voom! Voom!! Whoosh!!
“Bloody Hell!!”

Well that’s all over.
We’re standing too.
The Americans sit on the bunds,
Drinking beer.
They call us ‘birdwatchers’.
None of us will die! Will they?
We hope not.

It’s daylight, no more orange crescents,
No Snoopy…
Just Earthen bunds and howitzers,
Digging! Lots of constant digging;
filling sandbags, erecting wire,
servicing the guns… one at a time.
Preparing ammo – un-boxing – stacking,
never ending perpetual toil.
Work is the lot of the gunner…
never ending drudgery

Weapon pits, ammo pits, fighting pits,
sleeping pits, rain, mud, dust, heat,
Diarrhoea, malaria, tropical sores,
heat rash, paldrine, dapsone,
Smart arse officers… and noggy!

What the hell is it all for?
One year that will last a lifetime.