On the 14th line of this poem I use the derogatory term “coons” it is without context an offensive term which I would never use personally or sanction the use of by anyone else.
When taken in context this is the ranting of an ex-serviceman blighted by PTSD and Dementia. I would argue that it is relevant and appropriate in this setting/context as it highlights a disturbed mind.
It represents the deliberate discriminatory degradation of human beings by other human beings and the subsequent less discriminatory degradation of humans by the horrors of dementia.
I was requested to moderate this work on the website writeoutloud.net
In the context of maintaining realism and to portray life as it is/was I refused to do so.
As a result I was suspended from the site and am awaiting a decision on whether I will receive an outright ban.
Should we redline Spielberg’s scripts, sterilise reality? We do victims no service when we fail to represent the disgusting treatment they endured, that is what I am attempting to disclose here, the degradation of us all.
Additionally I have posted links to informative documentary evidence of the circumstances regarding the oppression and mistreatment of Kenyans during that period of history.
He’s marching now,
he is marching now,
Pants full of piss
He’s marching now,
squeezing the carers tits.
Catheter wrenched out
to a Sergeant Majors shout,
those Mau Mau bastards
burn them out
Came home to fuck all
pissed his wages against the wall.
“Fucking England, fucking Dragoons,
fucking jungle, fucking coons”
The Postman scared to come to the door
the letterbox a view to war
He’s marching now at eighty two
he gave his youth and mind for you
© Wolfgar 2019
I am quoting in this piece, I do not subscribe to my father in laws attitudes.
As for the conflict against the Mau Mau much has been aimed at the Brits which has detracted from the savagery of the Mau Mau, not that savagery of one side excuses that of the other.
I’m not sure if this is more about him then or him now, which is a sorrier state of affairs? You choose. He was a young man doing horrible things, he is now an old mad man haunted by horrors, suffering dementia and quite probably undiagnosed PTSD.
On point of correction here which reveals some poetic license, the unit my father in law served with was the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers not the Dragoon Guards..his son later went on to serve in the Royal Irish Rangers.
4 thoughts on “War Criminal”
He’s marching now at eighty two
he gave his youth and mind for you.
Certainly challenges me. There is rarely, if ever, cruelty on one side and civility on the other. We pay these young men a pittance to do our dirty work for us. Then we forget about them or put them on trail for obeying orders. John
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My Father in Law passed away two nights ago, he died in a care home where he had been for a few months. Dennis had terminal cancer and it had been eating away at him for years but he was a tough Irishman who wouldn’t bloody stay down when he was hit..time and time again he got up. Me and Dennis got on great when we first met because he could talk about his Army days, although then I was young and had never seen the active service he had. He never really spoke about it but he had been in Suez and Kenya fighting the Mau Mau, forging counter-insurgency tactics that my Army would become familiar with in time. We never knew because Dennis never spoke about it but in later years I came to realise that Dennis must have seen some nasty stuff, specifically in Kenya. By the time I became aware of this he was in his dementia and acting out his memories in his quiet pretty house in the the Nottingham Derbyshire Borders. He was cared for by his wife Jean who knew nothing about his service, Dennis used to act out his memories using an umbrella or walking stick as a rifle, he would rail and ramble incoherently and scare the crap out of people. I never witnessed this personally as by then my relationship with the family had been damaged, although I had never been rejected I thought it best to remain at a distance out of respect. I wrote a poem about Dennis which saw me banned from a poetry site I had been submitting to for over 4 years, it struck me then just how much voices like his were and are silenced by weak pathetic people who don’t understand the world they live in. The truth is there are thousands of people who suffer in silence who should not..there seems little we are able to do about it. I guess the thing we should do is ensure they are not forgotten, and we should speak their truth long after they have gone, irrespective of how much it upsets some of the privileged spineless fops who would rather cover their ears. I cannot pay my respects to Dennis personally and only a few of his family will be there at his funeral. Like many Irish Catholic families his tribe are spread far and wide I am sure when his memorial does come around he will be properly remembered and respected. So this evening I sat out late in the Garden and raised a glass to tough old buggers like Dennis but mainly just to him, whatever happened in my family my son is his blood so how can I be anything other than grateful to him?
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I am sorry for your loss David. You’ve provided Dennis with a sincere memorial in words. As I’ve become older, it is the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Mad Jack’, whose bravery (MC )and loyalty to serving soldiers led him to lead a campaign against the jingoism of the fops and hypocrites of the establishment during WW1. In the end, he was confined to a psychiatric hospital to shut him up, where, ironically, he met (and inspited) Wilfred Owen, recovering from wounds. As we both know, those who speak truth to power take a risk and are often mocked, isolated and excluded.
SUICIDE IN THE TRENCHES
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Thanks for your time and your considered words they mean a great deal to me. Any time I happen upon a kindred spirit it’s like finding treasure.
“Suicide in the trenches” is stark and like a swift kick to the groin of those overblown posers who write reams and reams of fluffy nonsense. It is often said and often wrong “only a soldier could have written that” I believe in the case of “Suicide in the trenches” it is 100% true.
The truth for me is that until later in life I had not read too much poetry even though I started scribbling quite early on. so I never was influenced by the kind of anti-war poetry or honest poetry that some of the war Poets delivered. I recall being among people who were full of piss and wind about the glories of war etc and I remember thinking then “fuck me what is wrong with these people” and realising that many of my motivations for being in service were not the same as theirs. Over time my opinions and attitudes were only consolidated more by the futility and waste of war, I have never really felt any different than that. So when I first read poems like “Suicide” I thought bloody hell brilliant! I’ve found a voice like mine, it was revelatory and it must have given me some confidence to kick against the voices which were louder than mine in my everyday life (especially during my service)
I feel on the outside in most of my peer groups and have accepted that I always will be, I’m fine with that at least some of them have had an experience of war from which they can form informed opinions. Flag waving ignorant civilians I inwardly despice and could quite easily machine gun in their hordes just to show them what it looked like. I guess I have a lot of anger inside me, I know that isn’t a good thing but I do have it under control, at least until I climb into a bottle.