Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tuesday 10th June 1941

Half-an-hour past midnight. I'm on the exchange. I've scribbled a poem – very quickly and easily – of ten verses! Didn't realise I could rattle off rhyme like that! Whilst writing, I answered calls, listened to music (plugged through from a wireless set) and was aloofly aware of several bombers passing singly overhead bound for Tobruk Harbour, also of heavy ack ack fire and falling bombs. However, that fitted in alright!

Here is my rhyme:-

Desert Night.

Magnificently clean and high
The moon at it's glorious full
Rides across the silent sky;
For – in the desert it is night.

The day's heat is gone from the land
There are no angry flies; no wind
To stir the silver gleaming sand;
And – in the desert! - all is sweet.

But suddenly there comes a sound -
The drone of aircraft heading East;
Far away, searchlights swing around,
Carefully wheeling to and fro.

Ack ack guns point up to heaven;
At them, cool men are loading shells
“Guns on target!”... “Fuse one seven”
The curtain can go up for Death.

Grimly the solitary plane
Heavily laden, holds it's course,
Straight and steady as a train,
To the oasis - and the guns.

The pilot is a dark-eyed boy,
From a land of sunshine and song,
Laughter and love and life and joy;
Yet he comes to destroy and die.

At the touch of a hand the bombs
Scream downwards to the precious wells
Almost at once the answer comes
“Lateral – steady...” “Fire” CRASH!

The boy succeeded? Yes. There is
No water now. He hit the wells.
If no help comes we cannot live.
He may have killed two thousand men.

And he died too, in savage flame,
He couldn't dodge the vengeful guns;
That lovely moon was dim in shame,
When he exploded in the sky.

O God! If all of us must die
In agony
So uselessly
How can the moon ride clean and high?

I just composed and added the eleventh and “odd” verse as an afterthought; couldn't bear to conclude my first effort at doggerel!


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