A soldier to his fingertips,
not once had he considered
some other role in life. He'd done it all
in various arenas round the world:
Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf; had even been
a prisoner of war in some foul jail.
Now here he is on guard outside a country house!
Life is on the downturn. Gone too tame.
O.K., the house is something special,
but even so, not his idea of soldiering -
looking after top brass. Interrupting him,
his thoughts, a limo' stops a few yards off,
the general's pennant flying from the bonnet.
Even from his distance he can see
the car is full of them. Medals enough
to sink a battleship. Unusual though,
for generals at this hour. They say
he would have seen the flash. The last
he would have seen before the blackness
claimed him for its own. Unheard of until then:
seven of them in one car. Extravagant, to say
the least. The house was totally destroyed,
a ruined shell. But still he comes
each night at his appointed hour
to guard the space where was the little
wicket gate before the bomb went off.
He's always there
regardless of the latest moves in government,
regardless of what standing orders are in place.
His family still visit him, still comatosed
in the infirmary, still partly of this world
and partly of another. Ever the soldier, he.
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