End of a Rat

End of a Rat

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

He walked the length of the village street

With a board - ‘The End is Nigh!’

In a dirty army overcoat,

He looked like a nice old guy,

But kids would jeer as he drank his beer

From a bottle outside the pub,

In winter, fend off the snowballs

That they threw - aye, there’s the rub!

 

For he had served with the Desert Rats

When the Aussie’s held Tobruk,

Had gone out under a blazing sun

Where an egg on the sand would cook,

He’d taken three light German tanks

With his mates from the Aussie bush,

On a night patrol where they had to crawl

Then fight like the Sydney Push.

 

After the war, he’d met a girl

In Alexandria,

One of the W.A.A.C.’s that served out there,

Her name was Angela,

He followed her back to England where

She turned her badges in,

And married the girl in Leicestershire,

But never went home again.

 

They settled down in a village there

Though he yearned for sand and sun,

She said she’d never leave England while

Her life had time to run,

He found some work on a local farm

Though he often became depressed,

And thought of the beach at Bondi and

The wheat fields of the west.

 

They lived and loved for forty years

Though he felt quite beaten down,

The locals never accepted him

As a native of the town,

His wife took sick to her bed one day

And said, ‘the time has come,

You’d better go back to Australia now

That my life is nearly done.’

 

She died as the sun was coming up

On the bleak, flat Leicester plain,

He buried her there in a cemetery

With an Anglo-Saxon name,

He thought to leave but her spirit stirred

And he couldn’t leave her grave,

But went to the age-old Norman church,

Knelt in the nave, and prayed.

 

For years he studied the Bible there

Considering all he’d done,

The bones of the soldiers left out there

In the terrible Libyan sun,

The emptiness of his life took hold

And he walked with a weary sigh,

Placing a board around his neck

That said - ‘The End is Nigh!’

 

He walked with his head bowed down and low

And forgot to turn around,

They found him frozen, covered in snow

Just a mile outside the town,

A photograph of his wife was tucked

In the band of his old slouch hat,

And on his lapel, a medal cast

In the shape of a Desert Rat!

 

David Lewis Paget


© 2012 David Lewis Paget



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Featured Review

Very well executed poem, David.

I am a huge advocate for veterans, especially the wounded, disabled, and disenfranchised that have served us at a severe cost to themselves and their families. We never know another's true burden or what has created their circumstances. They deserve our respect, understanding, and heartfelt gratitude.

Well done, my friend!

Posted 4 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Wow. this one put a lump in my throat. My heart just went out to the old guy and didn't come back.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Such an excellent write, David. You are quite the storyteller and excellent writer. Great job on this!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I hope you realize that this is a great poem. Have you submitted it for publication?

I'm officially a fan, sir.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"His wife took sick to her bed one day
And said, ‘the time has come,
You’d better go back to Australia now
That my life is nearly done."
this line provoked specters... It killed me

Amazing story!

Posted 4 Years Ago


How sad that he had such a miserable end.
Why on earth would she choose England over Australia? The woman was clearly mad ;)
Lol

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

incredible. very, very well done!

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

classic Paget your stories always tell us about an adventure. I often wonder when I look at someone on the side of the road. Who is he who is he really? Has he lived a notable life? For me if a man has never loved he has never lived. I know many men would say that men don't cry. I say it takes a strong man to cry.I often wonder just how deep the sorrows some of the souls I have met actually go. Man does seem to create two times the sorrow for every joy.in my own country I often wondered if we could stop being such a violent culture from the cradle to the grave. Would we end up being a kinder gentler nation? The art of diplomacy seems dead for sure. Well as I said in the past it was the strong who ruled the earth. Civilization allows us to maintain the rights of the week. In that way civilization is meant to allow the most intelligent to have the most influence. But those who would've ruled in the past. Don't seem to fit well into civilization. And so they end up in prison quite often because of their violent tendencies.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Love the storytelling.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Great write. I really enjoyed the story and the rhyme. Quite well done, friend!

Posted 4 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

All soldiers deserve tribute for their service..and he could never truly ever go home again..I found that out by moving 1ooo miles away 25 years ago..not fully accepted byt the south as I am to them a Yankee..live and learn as he did..love Kathiei

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on December 16, 2012
Last Updated on December 16, 2012
Tags: Tobruk, Alexandria, desert, England

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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