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Armoured train used by the  British ; the locomotive is  given blanket protection        Date: 1900
Colour Sergeant Goose

 

Wrenched from fields around Long Stratton
12345678912345to highveld guarding Bloemfontein,

Great-granddad Goose, Colour Sergeant
12345678912345reservist, Norfolk Regiment,

gets snipered in his Kipling face.
12345678912345He lives on for thirty-four years,

hides the wound with a Kitchener
12345678912345moustache, once a month sinks stiffeners

at the Swan with his son-in-law,
12345678912345my Granddad Bird. He makes a vow

never again to plough the land
12345678912345for pay, so works as a postman

until his cheek turns cancerous,
12345678912345beyond treatment or endurance –

and begs the doctor to over-
12345678912345dose him with a pain-remover:

the quickest and meatiest drug
12345678912345he’d dispense to a dying dog.

 

 

© Matthew Paul

Picture 10102103, unattributed engraving, 1900

 

 

Matthew Paul’s collection The Evening Entertainment was published by Eyewear Publishing in 2017 and he is a participant on the Poetry Business Writing School programme. He blogs at matthewpaulpoetry.wordpress.com and tweets @MatthewPaulPoet. Matthew is also the author of two collections of haiku – The Regulars (2006) and The Lammas Lands (2015) – and co-writer/editor (with John Barlow) of Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku (2008), all published by Snapshot Press. He co-edits Presence haiku journal and has contributed to The Guardian’s ‘Country Diary’ column.