Anthony W. Pahl

LOFTY

He was a bluddy big bloke was Lofty;
about six foot eight or more
And weighed two hundred fifty
without an ounce of fat, he swore.
Fit as a mallee bull in mating season,
and stronger than an ox
Old Lofty only had one fear,
and that was the fear of getting shot.

Despite his size he moved more quick
than most men half his size,
He wielded the M60
like a Septic Tank would wield a forty-five.
And smart; I tell you, the smarts of life,
he had them all down pat
But Lofty was scared of getting wounded,
I can bluddy vouch for that.

Whenever we got word
that we had to hit the boondocks on patrol
You could see the sweat on Lofty,
and he’d shake like with the cold
But he’d get himself all ready,
and he’d help us all prepare
Even though we knew like us,
he was really bluddy scared.

Now Lofty didn’t want to die,
he was the same as all of us
He’d do his job the best he could
and I’d never seem him stuff it up
But Lofty had a mortal fear
of being wounded and in pain
He was so big; he damn well knew,
charlie wouldn’t even need to aim.

So Lofty carried M26 grenades
attached to his webbing straps
He’d have about a dozen in front
and a dozen more in his pack
His belt had a couple of pouches;
in them he had a half a dozen more
If it weren’t for the M60 ammo,
he’d have carried a damn site more.

I asked him once, though I figured it out,
why the need for such a load
Didn’t he know if he was shot
the whole bluddy shebang would blow?
He replied, “Of course I know,
what, do you think that I’m bluddy mad?
Couldn’t stand being wounded;
bluddy site less pain in a body bag.

Somehow we understood his logic,
and no arguing could change his mind
Not even when we told him that if wounded,
he’d probably survive
He’d just give a frown and a shove
to whoever he thought was making fun
And off he’d go alone in silence,
and just wait till the patrol begun.

I think back on Lofty now,
and the way he handled his outright fear
He never ever was wounded,
and he got back to the world from there.
But one thing that still bothers me;
even though I know it’s now too late
If he blew up would he have known
he’d have blown up all his mates?

Submitted for the September 2002 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “My Inspiration