Poetry

The Ghosts of Bridgnorth

By 1st January 2006December 9th, 2019No Comments

As I wandered down a tree lined road
just a way from Bridgnorth town
I remembered lads in airforce blue
smartly marching up and down

I can see the concrete patches
where all the wooden huts once stood
and recall the cold dark winter days
out there gathering coke and wood

I can still hear voices shouting
the click of heels upon the ground
the shouts of ‘Alt, “Stand Still” “You plonker”
then silence, not a sound

I can still hear the marching feet
as I gaze towards the square
and try to place the NAAFI
which was somewhere over there

I can hear the airmen laughing
standing in the cookhouse queue
with berets tucked into their tabs
a vibrant sea of blue

A D.I. would come marching by
and shout loudly in your ear
“get yer bleedin air cut lad”
and report to me back ere

I can hear the PTI’s
as they put you through your paces
arms stretch, bend your knees
and cross country blinking races

The bullshit as you clean your huts
the bumper on the floor
the pads you walk with on your feet
the job sheet on the door

Inspections by the officer
you saw from time to time
white glove scraping on the lockers
for the slightest hint of grime

the wash house in the morning frost
you shiver as you shave the fluff
and soap your face with erasmus sticks
or some other shaving stuff

“Stand by your beds” somebody shouts
“Corporal present” God is here
the scramble as you panic
all those faces white with fear

I recall the bayonet charges
at sacks of straw hitched to a rack
I remember missing once or twice
and landing on my back

I can hear the crack of 303’s
as you lay there on the floor
the aching shoulder from the kickback
you don’t want to be there anymore

I recall the tetanus injections
administered with skill
then back up on the square
for another hour of drill

It all came back as I wandered
through a place that I knew well
Bridgnorth Recruitment training
The British airman’s hell

Yet all those years ago
I still see them plain as day
as they departed after passing out
and went there separate ways

Smart lads as I recall
when they went to catch the train
The DI’s standing smiling
They got it all to do again

I still hear the ghostly voices
shouting orders everywhere
the sound of marching airmen
seems to fill the morning air

From all corners they came flocking
carrying brand new kit
to join a million others
and do their little bit

Amen.

Albert Forsyth

Author Albert Forsyth

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