View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Saturday 13 October

An overcast and slightly chilly day, with no sun visible. Nonetheless, we did not have rain, which made a change from the past two days which were sopping wet. Received the news that an acquaintance of mine had passed away recently after suffering from cancer for a number of months. Will be paying my respects over the next couple of days.

Seem to have gotten onto a roll with this 'poetry' business, if you like. After the Iolaire, the Norge and the 1953 Dutch stormflood I wrote something earlier about the First World War, see previous entry. There is some strong language, but it is written from a serviceman's perspective and (being a former serviceman myself) I happen to know that they are not averse to a touch of swearing. It's one way of coping with the knowledge that the occupational hazard of a soldier is death.

There are some misgivings about the publicity surrounding the alleged misdeeds of the late Sir Jimmy Savile. I believe this publicity is quite justified. Jim fixed it for himself, but has suffered posthumous disgrace. He was so well known and well loved that, when alive, nobody dared speak out about the abuse he is alleged to have committed. For the sake of the victims, I think no stone should be left unturned. It is another expression of some pretty loathsome attitudes that existed in this country in the 1980s; I am referring to the Hillsborough cover-up in this instance.

Your country needs YOU

Come and join us, your country needs you
The old country needs you, come on and go
The Hun is afoot, he'll crush us all
Don't, and you're a coward, here's your white feather

Jump on the train, here is a corner
Have a fag, we'll be in France soon
March down the cobbled roads, the guns are calling
Here is your trench and here is your mud

Go on your ship and join the navy
Oh, you're now a soldier and not a sailor
Missed the train out of Antwerp
Missed the rest of the war interned in Holland

Sailing the seven seas, curse those U-boats
Dodge the torpedoes, strafe the subs
Lest they strafe you or leave you to drown
Better still Jutland, and knock Jerry for six

No volunteers left, not wanting, or all dead?
Draft them in, the dodgers, the malingerers
Push them to Haig's mincers, never mind they be ill
Never mind the trauma, won't go? Shot at dawn.

Givency, Somme, Passchendaele, add some more names
The glory is mud, the terror, the death
Torn to pieces, ripped to smithereens
Over the top, boys, hang in the barbed wire

What's the point, nothing is shifting
Jerry's bled white and so are we
Strategy's to pot, what's that, intelligence?
Throw out some chlorine, damn the wind's turned right round

November eleventh, the eleventh hour
Guns fall silent, the shooting has stopped
The point of it all?
You tell me, I don't goddamn know