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Never too old

By Owen Jenkins

Posted November 11, 2015
British soldiers in World War One

On the anniversary of the Armistice, the R&H remembers all who serve and have served on all sides regardless of time, place or politics.

Never too old
By Owen Jenkins

There once stood a young man

Where there now stands an old

A soldier from a past generation

From the unbreakable British mould

In front of the memorial he stands

Staring at the names on the plaque

Thinking of the life he was lucky to lead

Remembering the lads who never came back

He pulls a tissue from his pocket

To wipe the tear from his eye

Thinking of the friends he was lucky to have

And those that were too young to die

Thinking of all that he had done

And how well he has lived his life

The opportunity to start a family

And to spend his years with his wife

In his dreams he see their faces

And relives the good times shared

But it's also where the horrors come back

It's at night when the memories turn bad

Sleepless nights and jumpy moments

From car doors to fireworks

He could never forget the noise of battle

It's the quite times where fear lurks

Seventy years down the line

In this old body in which he is confined

He still feels like a soldier inside

For to be one is etched in his mind

Never told a soul about the things he has done

Because he felt he never had to

Just doing his job he would always say

Because soldiers don't expect a thank you

One day a year that he will never miss

His chance to stand there with pride

With polished shoes and cap badge

For his muckers who had their futures denied

With heels together and back straight

The wind is blowing and the sky is grey

He lifts his right arm and bangs up his final salute

For this is Remembrance Day

He places the tissue in his pocket and turns around

He heads towards the Legion

The rest of the afternoon is his

He is going to where there's a pint to greet him

His time to drink and be merry

To share funny tales with friends

All ex-servicemen around him

All who have risked life to defend

Slightly drunk and happy

He gets in to bed with his wife

Tonight he will sleep soundly for once

For no regrets he has with his life

His dreams are filled with familiar faces

With a smile he hears a loud voice shout

Long lost mates on the parade square surround him

And this soldier hears his final "to the left, fall out"

Owen Jenkins is an Afghan veteran and serving soldier with the British Army. His poems can be read online here.

Picture credit

A British soldier surveying no-man's-land through a trench periscope during World War One, which ended 97 years ago today (11/11/15), by John Warwick Brooke.

For licensing information, click the above link.

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