Sunday, 11 November 2018


At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 a war ended that had lasted for over four years and caused the death of somewhere between 15 to 18 million humans. I have never been able to comprehend the numbers and it is difficult to grasp the consequences.
It is clear that the mishandling of the situation led to the creation of a set of circumstances that ignited the Second World War and caused even more people to loose their lives. 
We expect superhuman acts by our armed services, but we do not offer them the support they deserve when they return. 
This post's poem arises from conversations I have had with a friend who fought in the Falklands War aged seventeen. 
At the Battle of Goose Green he was an untested told sniper by his sergeant that it was either one of theirs or two of ours. 

For Colin

He is still paying our bill,
you can see it in his eyes,
Goose Green to Belfast
and more places in between
than you could point out on a map.

How does a man who cares
steer his heart through such times?
Focus on the practical,
strip and reassemble what you can
with eyes closed in the dark
and repeat for Queen and country.

Part of him is always there
reflecting on what they told him that cold island,
the stark choice: the target or two of ours.

In the blackness of this sleepless night
he hears those words again:
two of ours or him.

An equation with only one solution.

There is a cost to war that is different for each individual and it has been so since the time of Odysseus. We can never know the consequences of our actions until afterwards. 

One song that has, I feel, honestly attempted to describe the whole experience is I Was Only 19 and I would like to leave you with John Schumann talking about the circumstances that led him to write it.

Here is the song.
Until next time.

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