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Thirty men to my left and twenty-nine behind
Equally as anxious, words of comfort too hard to find
Deafened by the motors, we wait as one in silence.
Knowing we’ll be jumping soon, jumping into violence.
Fear and trepidation runs through the green and grey
As we focus on our Dispatcher who’ll soon send us on our way.

We feel the plane descending, green fields come in to sight
Sixty men will jump today -some won’t make it back tonight.
And instinctively we know – when we’ve reached 800 feet
I turn and nod at those behind me, with faces white as sheet.
Camaraderie this mission, runs through veins of green and grey
And later in the barracks we’ll share a drink - salute them on their way.

I look towards the Dispatcher as the door is jolted opened
Air rushes in and my knees go weak, it’s just a solitary moment.
Equipment is checked and checked again as we blacken each our face
Black to camouflage from fire below and fear of possible disgrace
There is no backing down, no change of mind, there is no walk away
We depend upon each other, this band of brothers, dressed in green and grey.

Dispatcher stands beside the door, the red light turns to green
One last check before the jump – has become an endless routine
I’m first in line, no time to think. There’s a smack upon my back
And as I spiral to the ground the only sound I hear is, rat-a-tat-tat.
Joe behind me cops a bullet to the chest, and guiltily I pray
“Thank god it wasn’t me” as I join my brothers in a sea of green and grey.

I hit the ground, cut my chute and scan the field ahead
No time to check the wounded, who’s alive and who is dead
I run to join my brothers my rifle cocked in ready for the fight
I leap across the bodies of mates I’ll drink to later tonight.
The drop zone now too dangerous a place to stop or to stay.
I move quickly with my brothers, my brothers of green and grey.

The airfield - our mission’s objective, now safely in our control
A group is sent to boundary check, report and to patrol
And search amongst the dead – theirs and ours, is dutifully performed
We find bodies of our enemy and realise – they’re just kids in uniform
With old weapons by their sides, their Generals sent them on their way
They could never win against us, against the green and grey.

Night after night we cursed those who sent us, the ultimate dispatcher
Curse you on behalf of all the dead – curse you Margaret Thatcher!
All this for your political gain – some islands in the sea.
The dead who lay around me, our men; their boys who will never be.
You can reconcile your conscience, wave the flag, say prays if you may
But we share memories most vivid of kids who again will never play
Of comrades bloodied beyond recognition, limbs and faces blown away.
But we remain forever brothers, brothers in green and grey.



"This poem is here in its entirety as I have previously put this in the public domain via Readers and Writers Facebook Page. This was ‘commissioned’ by my husband as he wanted a poem to reflect how he and his comrades felt as they jumped for the first time into a war zone - The Falkland Islands. I hope this reflects the fear, anxiety, sadness and overall uselessness of the conflict."

Louise Goodwin



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