General (Vol. 2)


Bent now, the veterans shuffle slowly down
The muffled street
Of a respectful town,
Half marching to a faltering beat
Laid down by children
On Cadet parade;
And then
The Boys' Brigade,
The Brownies, Scouts and Cubs,
Uniformed tots
From paramilitary clubs.
Parental toys,
The Veterans must have their day
But little girls and boys?
What a grim game they are forced to play.

On, on to Church,
Boots rasping in the aisle,
Come to instruct and not to search,
Heroism brooks no denial.
Yet those massed
In pews before the tiny troops' bugles cease,
Fiddle embarrassed
With their poppies, wishing they could pray for peace.
The plea would be met with outrage;
So let the veterans as they age
Be honoured for their courage;
But not take children hostage.