Normandy Orchards (Keith Marsden) They're building a camp on the cornfields at Arlingham, bulldozers churning and changing the land, Long barbed-wire fences and acres of tarmac Nissen huts raised where the crops u sed to stand, Wide-eyed young village-girls giggling and staring, at tanks and transporters th at darken the sky, There's convoys of lorries with fresh faces peering out, so many young men come learning to die. cho: They say you can still hear the village-hall band, Grey, ghostly couples still glide round the floor, But Normandy orchards were waiting to welcome New partners for death in the mad dance of war. Mother has started a "comforts committee" but Reverend John's more concerned abo ut sin, Hughes at The White Swan is rubbing his hands a lot, watching the troops and the profits roll in, Eager young squaddies with overdone courtesy tipping their caps to the girls goi ng by, But too soon from school to be licentious soldiery, so many young men come learn ing to die. And mother would have a "blue fit" if she knew about Lieutenant Johnson and walk s in the wood, She's laid down the law and she's always gone on about men being beasts, so a gi rl must be good. But even she'd laugh at our clumsy propriety, her far too fearful and me far too shy, She might even pity his lonely bewilderment, one of the young men come learning to die. And peace came to Arlingham many long years ago, time passing by healed the scar s on the land, Tanks on the village green just a fond memory, now corn grows again where the hu ts used to stand, Yet as I walk in the fields on a summer's night, by the trees' edge when the win d starts to sigh, I still hear their voices all rising in harmony; lost, wasted, young men come le arning to die. Copyright Keith Marsden RG
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