Kim G. Strong

Kim, who now resides in Australia, joined the Rhodesian Army in 1976 and last saw action in the Entumbane uprising of 1981

SOLDIERS

Strangers bonded by subterfuge, tactics and common cause
Trusting the profound to the intangible for no logical reason
And buying for each other the years we now live…
Years paid in the blood of sacrificial innocence and naivety
Slaughtered by the indiscriminate sword of confusion and hate
and scorched by the fiery hell that burns on the altar of war

Each sacrifice a unique lesson in what should never be known
Too often condemned to wallow in negative emotions of guilt and betrayal,
Imposed by soft-bellied critics so lost in the desperate quest for self
That they are afraid to acknowledge and recognise the deep secret places
of spontaneity and instinct essential for survival within themselves
and so blind their own eyes to the truth of whom we are with their own stick.

I know you my friend…

… as well as we are known by others
Of that very exclusive brotherhood of soldiers blooded in battle
Who walked the same mile on the same road in the same shoes…
Soldiers who traversed those dark secret places with, before and after us
Charting and exploring them before they were known even to them…
And shared from soul to soul, without words or pictures or definable meaning

Timeless…

In an instant I knew you… touched the glory of a more profound being
Driven by the same high ideals and aspirations of a better time and a better place
Where selfless dedication became the unspoken blessing of greatness
Your actions gave me the wings of hope and promise that I now fly on before my God

I tasted fear but feasted on the courage of that selfless dedication
And survived the impossible odds of inevitability –
We won the war within ourselves
We lived in the darkness and came back
Flesh and blood monuments to fallen comrades
Whose sacrifices are too acutely personal for stone:
And in the twilight and pre-dawn I will stand-to,
Strong in the truth that I would fight by you again…

Author’s Note: The last few paragraphs on the Rhodesian Security Force Veterans (NZ): Intake 152 webpage refer to Sgt Theo Nel with whom I served for an all too brief period. He and the contact to which his BCR citation refers inspired this poem. I was only 18 at the time and was the corporal on the ground…

Interestingly, Theo Nel holds the distinction of being the last man in the world to have passed Selous Scout selection in Rhodesia