Nov. 21, 1944 Dear Folks – BANG ! All in one and a half hours my bags are packed, my equipment is turned in, I climbed into a G.I. truck, I travel halfway across camp, I get out of the truck, I draw new company equipment, and unpack my bags. Now I’m in a new […]World War II Army Adventure (73) – Dear Folks – BANG ! – November 21, 1944 — “Greatest Generation” Life Lessons
In Scorpion’s Tale, former Inspector Liv Harris, after a series of humiliating demotions, has now moved to a small Midlands town to seek not only a new start in life as a Private Investigator, but also a love life.
Unsure of what she wants, Liv meets a potential partner through a dating website, but while this is wholly unfulfilling from the beginning, quite unexpectedly she finds herself emotionally drawn to Karen, her friendly and very athletic neighbour.
Very soon the two women become virtually inseparable, causing Liv to question her own needs and her own sexuality, especially as she then falls into a physical relationship with a male police colleague from the local force, an old friend of the man she never landed, Jack Sallt.
Confused, she throws herself into the work given to her by her new lover, the perplexing cases of several missing persons who all worked for a local council. Alarmingly her investigations propel her into the warped, violent world of an ex-warrior with several bitter scores to settle.
Copyright Francis Barker 2020
When stepping off the ship, heat
something heavy and palpable, his duty drawn
out into an exile
stuffing the bank accounts
of far-off millionaires, stuffing
him and the natives from Melbourne
Such a relief to be on the train,
officers hankering in rigid
silence for the cool heights of Shimla,
Home Counties in miniature once bleeding
the big world dry, where spinsters
of Little England began to
watch their gingham fade
He favoured his mother’s
side, whose pale skin and eyes were
more fondly remembered
than appreciated, now more than
a world away,
spattered freckles on his face
where the sweat ran
free in that searing carriage;
sights of displaced women
wrapping up in their shawls, children
standing and sitting, staring
and sleeping, heading on to homes they’d
never seen (or ever see), leaving him
to watch the scorched earth slide
by like some weary sentence,
his mind hanging on
to the boney cattle half
hidden in mud, in the channels
of sometime rivers
gaping for monsoon
poem © copyright df barker 2012
Another Day in Helmand
He joined willingly
and has no complaints.
This is the life he chose.
He signed on the dotted line
knowing the score from day one;
about the low rates of pay
and the invisible enemy
who won’t play by the rules.
And show me where they said
all the equipment would be there,
that it would be all up to date.
There were benefits, too;
he was lauded several times by
flying visits of premiers and ministers,
who stood squinting in the sun
praising his courage, his skill,
in the best army in the world.
Yes, the cause was just,
his presence there directly protected
those he loved back home:
Our freedom, our democracy.
Yes, it was tough but he knew
he would have a trade,
something to contribute,
something solid to show
for his service to a grateful country,
plus a good pension to fall back on.
Now, not everyone has that.
I saw him the other day
admiring poppies in the sun,
to the clatter of pans and plates,
the warming sounds of Sunday lunch.
He’d been reading the paper
and that’s where I saw the
map of Helmand province
thrusting up into that rugged land,
where his life was changed
and such medals were won –
and where his legs were lost.
poem and image © copyright df barker 2012
* first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, which can be found at amazon.com