Colin F. Jones

MALARIA

I lay alone in my stinking pit,
Drenched in sweat and held in vice like-pain
“Hey Sarge! Hell I can hardly spit,
I got in my pit, but I can’t get out again.”

“What’s up mate?” the Sarge came straight away,
“Bloody Hell, you don’t look good at all”
He helped me out from darkness into day
And held me upright so I couldn’t fall

“Bloody hell Sarge, I’ve never been this crook,
I really feel mate, that I’m going to die,
Shit mate, better get the Padre with his book,
To paint a cross between my bloody eyes”

It took a while but soon the Dust-off came,
The dragged me in the always-open door
Then off, off flapped like a sirus crane
Back to the Dat

I moaned a bit, said some funny things,
And I wasn’t real sure when we did land
But off I went from beneath the whirring wings
To the R.A.P. that was near at hand

“You ain’t sick,” the medic said to me.
“Your temp is normal mate and that’s a fact
Back to your lines and have a cup of tea
That will cure you of this little act”

Well the BSM Ben Burleigh was his name,
Came driving up in his ammo truck,
He saw me standing there without a brain
Took but a moment to take one single look

Off we went in a cloud of dust,
At Every bump a little bomb explodes
But I am now completely in his trust
A member of his little book of codes

“Now medic I want you to take his temp again,
And be assured this time it WILL be high,
‘Cause if it’s not you’d better change your name,
For this young lad is just about to die!”

Sure enough my temperature had gone bad,
In fact so high I was up there in the clouds
So off we went back to the Helipad,
And I joined the queue of horrors dressed in shrouds

The Aussie hospitals at the time were full,
And they took me to a similar American place
Where soldiers go when it is time to cull,
A number of the living from this race

Well I was bloody sick, I’m telling you,
Seven days and nights I writhed in awful pain
In every part of me it grew and grew
Until I cried in anguish and in shame

I could not lie nor sit nor kneel nor stand,
The dreadful aching racked my very soul
I think I thought I’m off to the Promised Land,
I reckon some bloke had already dug my hole

Seven days passed in about a year It seemed,
And I floated from my bed a tranquil cloud
‘Round the wards I drifted while I beamed
I had cast away that bloody frightening shroud

Two more weeks, a day of rest at Dat,
Back to the fray to blow up some more Cong
But I wasn’t quite the same after that
From that day on there’d always be something wrong.