Colin F. Jones

ROADSIDE REST

He sees a pebble in a creek;
Two grey pebbles look and seek
To see with dull reflection wrong
Confused with swirls of watery song.

Later when he hangs his feet
White and blistered from retreat
He ponders that he may dive in
To cleanse his mind of perpetual sin

Across the green where farm cows graze
His feet now shod do slowly laze
While startling thoughts pollute his head
“WHY AM I NOT THE ONE WHO’S DEAD?”

A magpie wails all hued and pied
Black? Or White? He can’t decide
And throws a stone to stir its wing
Now he can’t feel anything!

Grass grows below the sky above
The Magpie is no pure white Dove
Where does the track wind, to, or fro?
Makes little sense, which way to go?

While from his rage the Magpie hid
He heard the squeal of rubber skid
And crawling there before his eye
He saw a dozen soldiers die

Bar-Rum, Bar-Rum; the din of hell
Left him shocked and quite unwell
Leaves scattered in the air like flies
Emitting a thousand silent cries

Far off he heard a tolling bell
Or was it an echo of a shell?
The track had petered to a trail
The day seemed hot, but he was pale

The mist so margined by the light
Translucent streaks, and orange bright!
No buttons for the holes they made
The sun pours through though still in shade

Is that the Magpie on the gate?
Is this a rage of love or hate?
“BILLY! BILLY! I’M COMING MATE!!”
But he always seemed to arrive too late…!

He’d often wondered when he’d died.
Proud horses by the gate had shied!
His heart residing in his head...
“Hell and I was thinking I was dead.”

The road; and insects everywhere
Grey snake in need of much repair
And by the edge that metal beast!
“Come it’s time to travel east”.

He stumbled quickly to his car,
Clambered in and slammed the door
And in an instant powered away,
To meet another endless day.