Saturday, 4 January 2014

Memories of an old army friend, recently called to the Last Post

Gary and Me

There’s marching and shouting and crunching of boots,
with men slapping rifles and cursing recruits;
we’re running and drilling from morning ‘til night,
go like a mad goat and get fit for the fight.
Now down to the pub for a laugh and a shout,
for a lark with your mates is what it’s about.
We soldier together, do Gary and me.

They teach us to shoot and to eavesdrop and spy,
and then send us abroad to give it a try.
They shut us in camp for long months at a time,
attempts at escape are a locking-up crime.
We crawl through the wire in the black of the night,
and leg into town for the Turkish delight.
We buck it together, do Gary and me.

Now, sleepless and angry, the boss does his rounds.
A voice in his head tells him, “Two out of bounds!”
But we’ve shuffled our beds with some of the crew...
He sees someone there but he doesn’t know who.
Come fire or come water, we both find a way
of having a laugh at the end of the day.
Always one-step ahead, that’s Gary and me.

EOKA and Suez drift in with the tide,
but Gary and me take it all in our stride.
For I-corps and Signals and GCHQ,
we track Arab kings and the Gypo aircrew;
get a grunt from the boss and, “Thank you,” from Ike,
who waves a big stick from an invalid trike.
We work hard and play hard, do Gary and me.

No matter how precious, all stories must end,
but the gift in the theme is finding a friend.
Now Gary’s moved on to the misty Last Post
I’ll bring up the rear while he’s clearing the coast.
Then, heads put together, we’ll suss the place out;
if we don’t like the vibes, then be in no doubt,
we’ll just crawl through the wire, will Gary and me.

Charlie Gregory
December 2013

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