Poetry by Jeff Green


The little ships

by cricketjeff on June 4, 2010.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved

Little boats all over Britain hurried down to do their bit
Pleasure steamers, local ferries and the like
There were thousands on the beaches and destroyers couldn’t fit
Couldn’t save men from the mighty German Reich
There were Stukas screaming earthward and a deadly rain of shell
And a quarter million Britons who had seen the way to Hell

But from all around these islands there were trawlers under way
There were dinghies. paddle steamers, odds and sods
While the rearguard battled panzers and fell back in disarray
British sailors risked their lives and begged their gods
Still the French kept up the fighting giving many more the chance
To return to home and safety, then to fight again for France

There was bravery and bungles, massacres by SS troops
Back in Britain people watched in disbelief
Then the call went out for barges, fishing boats and aged sloops
As a sleeping nation stirred to stave off grief
It was only by a whisker that the rout was incomplete
When that raggle tag armada snatched some honour from defeat

Author notes

The 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation has just passed.