On Patrol: SJ Murphy

Patrolling alleys, deserted, but for watching eyes,

eyes that wait, seeing the unseen,

eyes waiting, in sweltering silence, each breath,

each agonising pump of the heart:

only there to see the enemy – hoping his prey encroaches,

on the spot, where wires protrude, like deepest roots

breaking the surface in search of life – not death.


Webbing, amo, food and water – his sweetheart’s picture

folded lovingly, to take a peak: a hope,

to return to her entwining limbs, her warm wet lips.

To peak at that image of his Rose, a special part

of England where he will forever live:

His Rose of England, Her Sir Galahad,

whether today, he be hunter or whether, he be prey.


He, her chivalrous, gallant betrothed, the pedastal

on which he stands in her heart, no match:

there can be no measure of young love, apart and yearning.


When camp set up, patrolmen guarding east and west,

north and south, so he can return to her waiting arms.

The hope tonight, not prey, not hunter, just rest.


Her Galahad’s turn to patrol the east, the eastern flank,

where last were seen the prying, waiting eyes,

in sweltering heat, only hours before; no sign he sees,

of enemy moving, no peering eyes, no roots

protruding, searching for life – or death. Patrol

now done and up comes the sun: the hope today and

all days now (only twenty left), keep safe, keep strong.


Survived patrol, salt encrusted khaki now rested –

he watches his mates take up the obligation,

passed down from Whitehall. Watch and hope he counts

them all back in, there’s work to be done

and wagers to be claimed, the only spoken words – within he wants

his muckers to return – but know they all, they’re playground jibes:

for muckers mean as much, as England’s Rose at home.


Posted for One Stop Poetry’s One Shot Wednesday Week 51! – well done on the year guys ! It’s been a pleasure !


7 thoughts on “On Patrol: SJ Murphy

  1. Thanks for the comments guys ! I didn’t want to end it on a sad note – we all know too well it can – a young lad I know is desperate to go in the army and as much as a good career, pension etc I’m scared – I dread to think how his parents feel.

  2. Really enjoyed the storytelling within this, a great narrative poetic arc, expressing the romantism of a different age, as real now as their love is, even parted, and by doing so, you elevate the relationship in our eyes, to actually see it for what it is, one man who is someone’s beloved hero, potentially sacrificing his life and world. Very difficult subject to handle, and really well done.

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