These days every D-Day veteran is a skydiver.
As he falls I think of all those chaps
with their slick tales of Gold Beach and Anzio,
how Clifford dodged that stick of bombs beneath the chassis
of his armoured car at Monte Cassino,
or of the trusting fellow who hid from shrapnel
under a church door, while his friend bivouacked
behind the safe door of a front-line bank.
As our skydiverís parachute unfurls Iím thinking also
about a soldier in the Great War my grandmother
spoke of, who ran for it when a shell exploded
but then, fearful of firing squads, ran back
as if, he said, doing his exercise. He lands
while journalistsí flashbulbs coruscate.
The skydiver says: ĎThat was bloody marvellous.
Letís do it again.í
If you have any comments on this poem, Richard Hawtree
would be pleased to hear from you.