Colin F. Jones

THE PALUDRINE PARADE

On parade ‘fore and aft’; our WO one did command,
(No we weren’t there on a boat he was once a ships deck hand)
Every morning at Nui Dat three ranks we gunners formed,
In open lines proud and straight in baggy greens adorned.
“Pass the ‘pills’ out to the men each Sergeant take a line,”
As he handed each a box of pills as though he was divine.
Some pills were orange some were white, both deceptive drugs,
Designed, they said, to fix the bite of all the Asian bugs
They were in fact for mozzie bites the Aussie one was white,
They stopped us getting malaria or at least the germ would fight.
Dapzone was the other one quite large of orange hue;
We took it ‘cause the septic tanks said we had to take it too.
Our names were called and one by one we were given both the pills,
I never missed taking one but I still met with the chills.
The old WO one took much delight in each ones reluctant face
He was so smart to line us up that not a pill would go to waste.
Dismissing us we stood a while until he walked away,
Then off we marched duty bound to meet the coming day
Along the ground where we had stood six lines formed in the dust,
Three were orange three were white all evaluating trust.