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Still Waiting
SA (31/03/1985 / Sheffield)

Still Waiting

Poem By Steve Armstrong

He sat alone, looking patiently out of the window,
Gazing down at the carefully tended gardens below;
The flowerbeds, filled with a vibrancy of colour,
The lawn, mowed with military precision.

His eyelids get heavy, so much so,
That he can barely keep awake.
Then, suddenly, he awoke with a start.

He is not dressed in his normal clothes anymore,
Gone are the pale blue polo shirt and grey trousers,
He is in full military uniform, that of a private.
But… he thought to himself, this was absurd
I haven’t been in the army since 1940,
Fighting the Wops in Egypt.
Yet here he was, gun in hand,
ready to go and storm a house.

‘OK MEN! ’ bellowed his commander, ‘go, go, go! ’
The men poured out from their own fortified building,
Into the dusty streets, and towards the enemy camp.
‘Shit’ he thought, ‘It’s too quiet, something’s wrong’
Just then, a bullet whizzed from the barrel of a Berretta,
Spiralling through the air,
lodging itself deep in the shoulder of one of the men,
‘Get Down! ! ! ! We’re under fire! They’re on the roofs.’

He slams the cartridge into his own rifle,
an Enfield No.4 Mk.I,
And begins to scan the landscape,
Trying to see if there are any snipers tucked away,
In the distance, he spots one,
trying to sneak between two adjacent buildings,
‘Oh no you don’t’ he mutters under his breath,
and he squeezes the trigger of the Enfield.
Seconds later, the soldier drops to the floor, a direct hit,
Right on the left temple, exiting on the right.
The shot had been even more accurate than he could hope for.

His success was short lived however,
as another rooftop sniper let rip with a barrage of shells,
In the hail of fire, panic ensued,
and he was struck, directly in the chest.
The pain seared like a thousand red-hot pokers,
He was drifting, slipping out of consciousness,
‘Mr Johnson, Mr Johnson, are you ok? ’
He could hear the voices, but he was too deep to fully answer.
‘Mr Johnson’
‘ Ehhh? ’ He awoke with a start,
and there he was, In his pale blue polo shirt and grey trousers,
sat next to the window, A tear in his eye,
thinking of the friends he had lost,
Trying to stop the axis of evil taking over Europe,
Now here he was, Waiting for those who never came.

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Comments (1)

What a moving poem Stephen and such a poignant story too. I was definitely there with him in his battle. Well written. Love Ernestine


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