Poetry by Jeff Green

3209–Faded_Away.html

Faded Away

by cricketjeff on April 28, 2011.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved

In a corner overgrown by endless years and tangled weeds
Lies a cold grey slab of granite, all that’s left of shining deeds
Of a man who once told stories to the children on his knee
All about the fates of nations and the wars that kept them free

Though his name is hard to read now and no-one recalls his face
There’s a little bit of England that is still his special place

He left home before he should have joining up to play his part
Like the others in his village he was keen to learn the art
Of a brave a flashy soldier with a rifle at his side
Full of youth’s unkempt bravura and some fears he couldn’t hide

Far away across the oceans he fought other people’s fights
And discovered British soldiers are not mediaeval knights

There were Zulus by the thousand, there were Afghans by the score
There were endless hours of jankers scrubbing clean the barracks floor
But he never lost the sparkle that his dreams put in his eyes
And he never once suspected that the promises were lies

He became a grizzled sergeant looking out for beardless boys
Who had dreamed of fame and glory and who now knew battle’s noise

He returned at almost fifty bought the pub and served up ales
To the men he’d known as schoolboys and regaled them with his tales
Loved their children when they’d listen to his half remembered boasts
Of the enemies he’d slaughtered and the friends who now were ghosts

Now he’s finally surrendered last defences overthrown
In his uniform and medals he’s asleep beneath the stone

Author notes

I saw a picture of a beautiful and tranquil overgrown graveyard and this happened …