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 Shell-shocked from Korea

A grenade that left him

The platoon’s only survivor,

Put him in Stanley Royd

For thirty years.
He tailored there And out on weekend leaves He made and mended Everybody’s clothes, Crying copiously While he sewed.
When they cleared out The chronic cases Uncle Bob came home, Shopping for Edna, Doing the garden; When the lodger left Without a word, the police Searched his room, The garden shed, Even the chest freezer.
Oesophageal cancer Is very final.
John, his son, waiting To take the house, Departed for a month’s fishing Until it was all over.
As a last rite They put him in the LGI But I spoke to the houseman privately, Pulling together the bits of a life Wholly given over to others, Fallen comrades, Edna, The grandchildren His pension went on.
The houseman agreed to speak To the surgeon privately.
Edna went first and At her funeral John, In frustrated fury, Hit him over the head With an empty fish tank.
When secondaries started I was not told And in the hospice He barely lasted His first weekend.

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