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(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

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Death of an Airman

‘Abis, Ackerman, Benson and Blunt,
Stand to attention and look to the front,
Chiswell and Barnett
Who told you to fall out,
You’d think this was bush week
Or a Boy Scout Camp call-out;
Get back into line or I might have you all out
Tonight…
Did you hear what I said to you, Argent? ’

‘But there’s a man dying on the tarmac, Sergeant! ’

‘I never liked Wednesdays, ’ declaimed Sergeant Black,
‘Too soon to go forward, too late to go back!
Dexter and Dooley
I’ll have your attention,
I’m not calling names
For an honourable mention,
I’ll charge the whole bunch for a spark of presumption
Tomorrow…
I’ll tell you once more, Mister Argent…’

‘But there’s a man, dying on the tarmac, Sergeant! ’

‘Haven’t you seen a man faint before?
Harris and Jenkins
Block up that four!
Fill up the gap that your mate has relinquished
We’ll count him as present, but almost extinguished, ’
The Sergeant guffawed, in attempts to distinguish
Himself…
Now what in creation d’ya want with me, Argent? ’

‘A man has just died on the tarmac, Sergeant! ’

24 October 1972

Submitted: Friday, September 30, 2005
Edited: Monday, March 05, 2012


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Comments about this poem (Alisa by David Lewis Paget )

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  • Ernestine Northover (1/21/2006 4:27:00 PM)

    An excellent write David, I love poems with characters in them they give the poem a nice storyline, and give great interest. Loved this one. Love Ernestine XXX

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  • Mary Nagy (9/30/2005 8:10:00 AM)

    I love this poem. It has such an easy flow that this 'hectic scenario' you've described is so vividly clear. (And I always love rhyme in a poem!) Sincerely, Mary

  • Rev. Dr. A. Jacob Hassler (9/30/2005 8:05:00 AM)

    wow, how original and cleverly put across. rhymey-rhyme poems usually get a bad rap around here. but this was written magnificently. just the right amount of humour, but with a tinge of sadness. the military is indeed absurd in all manners and practices.

    Jake

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