WW II, a British focus  



Desert Dawn by Pte Tom Barker
1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Tom Barker passed on October 1st 2008poppy.gif - 1571 Bytes
Desert Dawn

The cold keeps the tired from sleeping, but shortly before the dawn,
the soldier who should be dreaming, stifles a stubborn yawn.
He has been all night watching, the shadows that creep and slide,
like a sandy floating carpet, where any thing can hide.

The sky begins to lighten, he looks at his mate's face,
and wonders if tomorrow, will we ever leave this place.
There is no water fit to drink, and nothing worth the eating,
the last place God ever made, that's why there is no seating.

But watch the dawn as it comes up, it could easy be your last,
and see those blood red rays, as on the sand they're cast.
The shadows flee as does the cold, as light o'r the desert rippled,
and ware the man who rises up, to be killed or perchance crippled.

There is no turning back for him, nor a place to hide,
but who would turn from the enemy, and wound his mother's pride.
So fix your blade and wet your lip, this will not take so long,
then you can join your mates again, and sing a merry song.

The fiery sun creeps upward, ever warmer till it's hot,
the flies are milling round you, it's a waste of time to swat.
For every time you kill a fly, it always has a brother,
and he will bring a thousand more, then you they try to smother.

So drink your drink and wait awhile, await there by the thistle,
you only move when told to move, and then it is by the whistle.
For when it blows you move so fast, that any one to mark,
is like leading on a drunken man, or shooting in the dark.

The R.S.M. has stopped awhile, to stoke his trusty his pipe,
and even as he lights it, he turns and has a gripe.
Says some thing to our Piper, to see him here is rare,
the bagpipes began their wailing, as he played the old Black Bear.

The whistle blows and every one knows, now is the time to go,
So we set off just like any toff, strolling down Saville row.
The sand blew over every thing, but the seaside it was not,
and some of the old regulars, reckoned we should have got a tot.

To kill some one at a distance, is just like shooting a crow,
but to kill some body near you, is like killing some one you know.
There is no time to get friendly, nor check out if you can trust,
so you fight for your life in the desert, then throw up in disgust.

You come back home a hero, but oh it is ever so sad,
that another has given his life up, just so my mother's glad.
Would you do any different, someone asked me at tea,
i'm sorry that I can't answer, what will be will be.

The sun is as hot as ever, as o'r the desert it shines,
and cold are the nights and mornings, as the Mistral whines.
A lot of young men are missing, and lots of mothers weep,
and a man goes to his bedroom, but cannot rest or sleep.

A face is at the window, weeping pray let me come in,
why did we meet in the sand dunes, to commit such a terrible sin.
Maybe I'll meet him in heaven, or perchance the other place,
whatever my luck I still won't duck, but I hope we do embrace.

Tom Barker 1997

2982252 Pte Barker T.O. 1st Bn Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, Born 23 May 1921.
Tom Barker