Poetry

They’re Coming Home from Lashkar Gah

By 19th November 2007December 9th, 2019No Comments

They’re coming home from Lashkar Gah,
From Helmund’s plain and Kandahar.
Those silent ranks of boys made men,
Their names struck out with blackened pen

I did not grudge our troops goodwill.
I prayed them well and free from ill.
But now they come from battles far,
By cargo plane, to funeral car.

Their comrades dressed in Number Two.
In Lovat Green or Airforce Blue
With sombre, ashened, saddened faces
Bear them proud with slow march paces

What happens there in Lashkar Gah?
In Helmund’s vale, and Kandahar?
Beside the Helmund’s turgid flow.
And still do Sangin’s poppies grow?

What do we armchair Generals know
Of I.E.Ds or tracer glow?
Of “Dickers” following the track?
Or Shadowmen in turbans black?

Are Pashtan tribes and Tajik men
Beyond the limits of our ken?
Are they our friends? Are they our foe?
We cannot judge unless we know.

Camp Bastion is, full eight miles square
With thousands of our soldiers there
“A work of art” says BCI*
“The politicians’ shame” say I.

Hamid Karsai, that noble man.
Has plans to beat the Taliban.
Who pays the price? Who bears the cost?
And must more British lives be lost?

We’ll treat you well; when you are dead.
Draped in the flag, blue, white and red.
We’ll meet you with a limousine,
Young fallen soldier of the Queen.

So Ministers! Create a creed.
To give them everything they need.
No weasel words; not any more.
Support those troops you send to war.

Or bring them home from Lashkar Gah,
From Helmund’s plain and Kandahar.
And welcome them in vibrant ranks
Then honour them with noble thanks.

Paddy Slevin

Author Paddy Slevin

More posts by Paddy Slevin

Leave a Reply