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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Jack and Arnold


Twin shooting stars, they shot across my sky,
landing, one bright Sunday breakfast time,
coincidentally, at our front door.
"Out of the blue!" my gran said, sniffily.
Thought I: the same blue as their uniforms!
From Canada. Kit bags slung on shoulders -
and better yet:  Royal Enfield rifles sloped
across their backs. Gran's distant relatives.
Arnold and Jake: I'd never heard of them.
"They've come to bloody Hitler's nose!" she said.

They showed me how to strip the rifles, and
how to use one, lying prone, to kill off
all the Germans hiding in the rose bed.
"We've done no actual  killing yet," Jack said,
apologetically. Wrong! They'd killed
off my desire  to drive a big red bus.

One summer's day when I'd been playing up
(exactly what I'd done and why, what it
was all about, God knows - I've asked, of course,
but He's not saying), they ended it quite
summarily, debagging me. Dumped me
in our small front garden, shut the door and
left me there, how long I do not know, might
not have cared if Ann had not come by. I
must have had a crush on her. Thereafter,
nothing's clear of my two stars. I've hazy

images of fun. That's it. One image,
though, there is that does not fit. Jack (I think)
arrived with a large box of letters tied
in bundles with red tape, and asked if gran
would keep them safe for him. The cupboard un-
derneath the stairs became their home. Soon he
was back to burn them all. i asked gran why -
and why was Jack in tears. "Huh!" she replied,
"they're crocdile tears, nothing more!" How strange
that phrase seemed to me then! Why crocodile?

When came V.E. day and the celebrations
Jack announced that he'd be volunteering
to go to the far East. Armold called him
fifteen sorts of idiot, but Jack had
the last laugh, was shipped back home, had weeks of
embarkation leave... at which point peace broke
out. Jack, demobbed, returned to civvy street,
while Arnold was still stuck in what for him
was no more than an outpost that had me.
..................................................................................
I post this edition of my Suburban Village early, while I still have broadband!

16 comments:

Rachel Cotterill said...

Great story. True...?

kaykuala said...

A nostalgic journey back through time can be exhilarating. Jack was plain lucky. Got his way not of his own choosing but one most welcomed. I've enjoyed a number of your 'war-time' stories this far. Keep them coming,Dave! Wonderful write!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

an interesting bend dave....i am glad for those that did come home...and wish peace would break out on a more stable basis so that others coul come home as well...

Dave King said...

Thanks to all for your good wishes and patience over the last few days. My broadband is intermittent at the moment, so I am giving priority to my visits and will reply to comments as best I can. Just be assured that they are read and valued.

David Cranmer said...

Superb, Dave. As always. :)

A Cuban In London said...

I read this as a forty-year-old who often hears stories about the Second World War and wishes sometimes he'd been there. What an engrossing poem. In fact, it also reads as a poetic short-story.

Many thanks. Oh, and I forgot to mention the other day, yes, Sky. It rules. But I still have a clothes peg on my nose. :-)

Greetings from London.

Mary said...

Interesting, Dave. I wonder if you or someone stayed in touch with these two after the war was over. I had not realized Canadians were stationed in England; but it makes sense.

manicddaily said...

Another interesting, vivid story. I love the Gran and crocodile tears- and, of course, the guys turning a bit mean - being too young themselves to be more sensitive, and the general run=on unconscious tone here. So good. k.

second storey additions Perth said...

Hi Dave! It was a great read. I like the way you tell the story. It's quite amusing and very vivid. Keep it up man.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Another chapter in a gallery of vivid memories. They should really appear in a collection...

Gerry Snape said...

I love the story...is it poetry/prose? I'm reading up about that at the moment...whichever it's a great post.

Carl said...

I think there is a book of poems or a novel in your early village life. I am drawn to these poems. i look forward to them each week!

haricot said...

Whichever his tears would be true or false, his(their)youth involved
into the priod of war, and it is not an old story at all...

cloudia charters said...

Your poetry tells me things I want to know. It does not merely preen, but actually carries value. . . most poetry is boring, mine included most often. Easy grace, that's how I think of you. and to think! I have access to you! (as long as the broadband hangs in. . . )


Wishing you a pleasant week with
Aloha from Waikiki, Dave
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

Jenny Woolf said...

Love this, it has the authentic episodic vividness of childhood memory.

And well written as usual. I specially liked "Wrong! They'd killed
off my desire to drive a big red bus."

Dave King said...

All
I'm going for it - hoping the broadband holds out and that I get to visit you all after responding.

Rachel
The names are changed to protect the guilty. Everything else is as I recall it.

Hank
Thanks for saying so. Much obliged.

Brian
Amen to that - and how!

David
Much thanks.

A CUban in London
Interestingly I wondered - after posting it! - if I should not have made it into a short story. Thanks for the comment. (I always keep a clothes peg handy!)

Mary
Alas, no, is the answer. My parents - and even more so - my grandparents kept in touch with the family, but after my grandparents deaths we could find no contact details - and my parents had lost touch. We received Christmas cards for a while, but again, no addresses etc.

manicddaily
Thanks for this. Your coments are always so helpful and informative.

second stoery additions
Hi, and welcome! Much thanks for this.

Tommaso
Thanks so much. I think perhaps I shall have t try.

Gerry
A bit of both - or poetry prose. Thanks for the interest.

Carl
Thanks Carl. Very good of you to say so. Quite a fillip.

haricot
Yes, you are right. Thanks.

Cloudia
Thank you so much for this. A locely comment - except for the disparagement of your own poetry - I can't go along with that. I've never read anything boring on your blog.
All best wishes to you.

Jenny
Thanks Jenny. Glad you liked the big red bus bit -next to being debagged, it's my most vivid memory of them - the excitement they created in my young mind.