Friday 29 March 2024


I've been researching slang this week because I realised that the poem in the last post had an incorrect term in it for an officer. The term I used - temporary gentleman referred to soldiers who were promoted to the officer ranks in the First World War. It highlighted their fleeting status and the high attrition rates of that conflict. I looked at a fascinating wiki. I must thank the author[s] for their comprehensive list.


a synapse sparks unbidden

sets the memory unrolling

and I am back in the 70s

an apprentice working with a fitter

old enough to be my father

he’s telling me about his national service

I spent two years on an airbase in Yorkshire

guarding Vulcan bombers

and me a time served tradesmen

fully indentured

but the RAF needed security

for the new super weapon

it wasn’t a bad billet and

the sergeant told me that

no one enters that hanger

not even your grey haired old mother God bless her

because it’s top bloody secret that’s why

I’ll have your bloody balls on toast

if you bloody defy me and

it wasn’t a bad billet save for that time in February

when I should have been at the dance with my girl

pulled the short one that night I can tell you

this one pip rocks up all received pronunciation

straight out of Sandhurst demanded I move aside

that I let him into the hanger and that is an order

looked down his nose at me

his face getting redder and redder and

then it was get out of my way

by God I’ll have you on a charge

so I moved aside and when his back was turned

I hit him with the butt of my revolver

did I mention we were armed anyway

the officer went down like a sack of spuds and

there was hell to pay

I barely escaped a glass house holiday

never knew what became of that officer

never saw a Vulcan either only on the television

years and years later and

he threw his dog end away

it had stopped raining

so we left the shelter of the pipe bridge

and went back to whatever we were doing before the rain

I still don't think this poem is quite there yet but it reads better. I am now going to put it away for some time. I appear to have got my mojo back at the moment, for which I'm thankful.

Been listening to Scott Walker this week, going back to the first four LPs.

Until next time.

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