Poetry

Ain’t worth a Cuss

By 24th August 2010December 9th, 2019No Comments

I’d say the peacetime soldier ain’t worth a tinker’s cuss.
They’re layabouts and drunkards, and often something wuss.
So if our fire brigade or dustbin men refuse to work today,
Well; get the squaddies off their arse, and make them earn their pay.

They skive around in barracks, sometimes marching up and down.
Being a bloody nuisance, going drunk round the town.
Then spend a week or two each year, upon the Salisbury plain,
Or jollies out at BATUS, never ceasing to complain.

Then is heard a signal from an island far away.
“Overwhelming enemy hold Royal Marines at bay.”
And quietly, throughout the land, our soldiers all prepare
To do or die, as many did, defending freedom over there.

But they mostly skive in barracks; sneaking crafty tank park kips,
After training hard on noch ein bier, und currywurst mit chips.
So! They have to go out, now and then, to Soltau’s barren plain
With a case of Herford in the cab, then it’s off on leave again.

Close to home, a different tale, of semtex, bombs and guns.
Far cry this from stoppage drills and Hohne battle runs.
To the Creggan and the Bogside, “To keep the peace” they said.
Peace took forty years to come, and left eight hundred dead.

I know they skive in barracks. I knew a corporal in the Guards.
He said the greatest danger faced, was losing big at cards.
Agreed, he sometimes had to shoot his gun, or practice with grenades.
But he mostly combed his fluffy hat, for them royal guards parades.

Then far from home, near Babylon, a dictator cried “Advance!”
He crushed his little neighbour, giving them no fighting chance.
So our soldiers donned their battle gear, and went to join the fight,
Where fifty comrades lost their lives; to rescue Kuwait from their plight.

Then once again the call went out “Back to Iraq again”
Then once again our soldiers went, to that barren dusty plain.
And when the dust had settled and the honour roll was took,
One hundred and seventy nine sad names were written in that book.

Well yes! I must admit, that they sometimes have to fight.
But most of them don’t have to go. They sleep at home at night.
Why do they call them heroes? They’re just ordinary folk.
And anyway they shouldn’t have joined, if they couldn’t take a joke.

Yet still they go; to Lashkar Gah and the Musa Qala plain.
Some hundreds of those men and boys will not see home again.
Yes these are peacetime soldiers, for no war has been declared.
And why do we call them heroes? For doing what no others dared.

If you think the peacetime soldier ain’t worth a tinker’s prayer
Ask yourself “Who will we send?” when they’re needed over there
And thank the Lord it won’t be you. (‘cause you can’t take the joke)
Just leave it to those brave young men. Those extraordinary folk.

Paddy Slevin

Author Paddy Slevin

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