Put it this way. If I had a suitcase
I’d open it and I might iron my shirt
but I certainly wouldn’t put my socks in drawers
     because unlike you kids

I can’t be wasting time on a ruddy farm
at my age. Have to do my bit. Eighteen
in April don’t forget. I’ll stay a night
     and eat a roast with you

and get you settled down. When you next see me
I’ll be in uniform. I’m not sure which.
I may well have a beard. Why is that funny?
     All very well laughing

when it’s summer all year long. Not in the service.
Our lads are copping it every night and day
over our heads right now, don’t you forget it,
     kiddies. Spades are trumps.



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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 7, on page 34
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