Peter J White

Rookie (London, UK)


One day, long ago, when walking to school,
We stopped at the kerb, that’s me and my friend,
Looked left and looked right, for that was the rule,
When a five ton, green army truck rounded the bend.

Then another, two more, then too many to count
Made a crowd of us wait for a share of the road.
The doors were removed, for swift entry no doubt,
And were each nose to tail with a full, heavy load.

Yelled a man through angry cupped hands, “Can’t you wait? ”
To a corporal with ribbons and fiery red mop;
He replied with a nonchalant wave, “Sorry mate,
“There’s a big job to do and no time to stop.”

“Then what about us? ” an irate woman asked,
“Bad luck”, said a major slapping his cane,
And he flashed a broad grin through his curly moustache,
“It’s the war! ” And the convoy lurched forward again.

A drizzelly rain made us all wet and cold,
But in wonder to see the select of our land,
Prepared to defend us as yeomen of old,
Passed this way in a flood with weapons in hand.

It was clear to us all this was something quite new,
For a thousand big trucks had come through by then,
With artillery, tanks, battle wagons and crew
Ammunition, I’m sure, for millions of men.

Though we knew we were seeing a major advance,
So well were we drilled with holding our tongue,
That no word was said of Invasion of France;
But we knew that at last the moment had come.

“Give ‘em the works” bawled a voice in the throng.
“Knock off their blocks! ” we yelled, thrilled to the core,
And we took off our caps and cheered them all on,
While crossing the road was thought of no more.

We listened, for news on the wireless each day,
Of our gallant new friends and their goal safely reached;
Celebrated with joy when we heard it say,
“The steel-bound Normandy coast has been breached.”

* * *

Submitted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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