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The Smashing British Men

By ATWadmin On September 17th, 2008



The Taliban’s eagerness to embrace ignorance will doom them eventually, but how many of us will they kill first?  They are a relic of the beasts in our nature.


….Michael Yon, Death In The Corn

If we held the intent of the beasts that we keep
In far fields and dark valleys, in the pale light of sleep,
In marked shards of clay, in papyrus and parchment,
Beneath the brick hearth, in the marks on old bones,
In the marrow of bones, in the plowing of stones
Parting sand furrows where our dreams are pale sparks
In the roots of our nerves, sprouting to thoughts,
To the tee-shirt philosophies of cheap magazines,
And the afternoon shows of electronic dreams,
That drown our blank selves now dredged up from sleep.

If we knew the intent of the beasts that we keep,
We would surely sit senseless, would hide from the sun,
And turn on ourselves the unregistered gun.
If we held the intent of the beasts that we seek.

If we knew the intent of the beasts which we slay
From couches confessional, in the stone barns of God
Where the soul’s soundings echo the light in the sod
To our penitent minds; which illumines our stark
Hearts from within, that dazzles our dark
With His fierce pyrotechnics, with His animate spark
That glows in that womb where all yearning starts,
And yearns for the flare at the top of the arc,
But burns like dead screams flung down in the dark,
Like torches cast deep where drowned Incas decay…

We would know then this life takes place in one day,
That the beasts which we keep are the beasts of our sleep,
Created from dust in the long dusk of God,
That we know the intent of the beasts which we keep.

Van der Leun

11 Responses to “The Smashing British Men”

  1. The British Tommies in Afganistan are in a damned tough fight at times, and I for one am glad to have them there with our soldiers.

  2. They’re the best. It staggers me what they are doing, the hideous difficult war they are fighting. No whining there. Proper British grit. They make me proud.

    Thanks Daphne (and Michael Yon)

  3. I like the poem.

  4. These are men hated by their government and the media.

    They’re white, working class Cockneys, Scousers, Brummies, Geordies, Tykes, Mancunians and Glaswegians.

    Thought of as probably racist and unreconstructed by commentators, their lives don’t matter. We know this because of a demented health and safety at home, while they’re using and dying in the unprotected snatch vehicles they were using in NI thirty years ago.

    If they put one foot out of line, make one rash decision in that corn field, a well-paid lawyer will investigate them, attempt to have them stood in the dock in the way we used to treat criminals and use a compliant media to damn them.

  5. Did you read this bit?

    On Thursday nights, the ANA have what the Brits call “man-love” night, or “man-love Thursdays.” Interestingly, Iraqis would sometimes say that a man is not a homosexual unless he has sex with other men when he is over thirty. At that age, they say, a man should stop, or else he’s a homosexual, which is a perversion of faith. I recall reading Ahmed Rashid’s fantastic and prescient book Taliban, which was published before the war. Mr. Rashid described a tank battle waged between warlords over the services of a young boy. Boys are for pleasure, women are for babies, they say.

  6. Good poem, but anyone remember this one…..

    The Rhythm Of Time

    There’s an inner thing in every man,
    Do you know this thing my friend?
    It has withstood the blows of a million years,
    And will do so to the end.

    It was born when time did not exist,
    And it grew up out of life,
    It cut down evil’s strangling vines,
    Like a slashing searing knife.

    It lit fires when fires were not,
    And burnt the mind of man,
    Tempering leandened hearts to steel,
    From the time that time began.

    It wept by the waters of Babylon,
    And when all men were a loss,
    It screeched in writhing agony,
    And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

    It died in Rome by lion and sword,
    And in defiant cruel array,
    When the deathly word was ‘Spartacus’
    Along the Appian Way.

    It marched with Wat the Tyler’s poor,
    And frightened lord and king,
    And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
    As e’er a living thing.

    It smiled in holy innocence,
    Before conquistadors of old,
    So meek and tame and unaware,
    Of the deathly power of gold.

    It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,
    And stormed the old Bastille,
    And marched upon the serpent’s head,
    And crushed it ‘neath its heel.

    It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
    And starved by moons of rain,
    Its heart was buried at Wounded Knee,
    But it will come to rise again.

    It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
    As it was knelt upon the ground,
    And it died in great defiance,
    As they coldly shot it down.

    It is found in every light of hope,
    It knows no bounds nor space
    It has risen in red and black and white,
    It is there in every race.

    It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
    It screams in tyrants’ eyes,
    It has reached the peak of mountains high,
    It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

    It lights the dark of this prison cell,
    It thunders forth its might,
    It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,
    The thought that says ‘I’m right!’

  7. Great article, fitting tribute.

  8. Thanks, RS.

    As as this seems to be a thread of longer verse, let me add this great one by Kipling, showing that British troops there are part of a long, if hitherto not very promising, tradition:

    Kabul town’s by Kabul river —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    There I lef’ my mate for ever,
    Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford.
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    There’s the river up and brimmin’, an’ there’s ‘arf a squadron swimmin’
    ‘Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

    Kabul town’s a blasted place —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    ‘Strewth I sha’n’t forget ‘is face
    Wet an’ drippin’ by the ford!
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    Keep the crossing-stakes beside you, an’ they will surely guide you
    ‘Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

    Kabul town is sun and dust —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    I’d ha’ sooner drownded fust
    ‘Stead of ‘im beside the ford.
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    You can ‘ear the ‘orses threshin’, you can ‘ear the men a-splashin’,
    ‘Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

    Kabul town was ours to take —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    I’d ha’ left it for ‘is sake —
    ‘Im that left me by the ford.
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    It’s none so bloomin’ dry there; ain’t you never comin’ nigh there,
    ‘Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark?

    Kabul town’ll go to hell —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    ‘Fore I see him ‘live an’ well —
    ‘Im the best beside the ford.
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    Gawd ‘elp ’em if they blunder, for their boots’ll pull ’em under,
    By the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

    Turn your ‘orse from Kabul town —
    Blow the bugle, draw the sword —
    ‘Im an’ ‘arf my troop is down,
    Down an’ drownded by the ford.
    Ford, ford, ford o’ Kabul river,
    Ford o’ Kabul river in the dark!
    There’s the river low an’ fallin’, but it ain’t no use o’ callin’
    ‘Cross the ford o’ Kabul river in the dark.

  9. "They’re the best."

    They most certainly are, but no matter how proud we as individuals are of them, it seems our government has no such similar feelings.

    Poor equipment, poor accommodation ‘back home’, poor medical treatment, and always with the spectre of being abused while lying in a NHS hospital bed, should they return home injured, and all because there are no military hospitals. This is the way our serving military are treated! Not to mention being refused a ‘bed for the night’, when on home leave, as ‘it’s company policy’.

    Proud as we are of our military, no words can express the shame felt for our government, for their treatment of those who do not have the right to complain.

    Lose a leg in the service of your country and receive a pittance in compensation, and little help with rehab. Yet a typist in the MOD gets several hundred thousand pounds in compensation for some temporary and minor injury sustained while typing.

    It seems they have more regard for the Health and Safety regs, than for the men who fight our countries corner in far flung places.

    Meanwhile loyal soldiers, who have willingly served this country for generations, are denied even the basics that are allowed to immigrants who have no love or allegiance for us.

    The Ghurka’s protest at No 10 this week, pleading for their veterans to be allowed to stay here, callously dismissed by some jobs worth at the MoD, as ‘a matter for the Courts’, was a totally disgraceful response, and brings shame on all of us.

    If only they were so quick to repatriate all those illegals that seem to come and go at will.

    The irony is the likelihood that we probably have more enemies here at home than we have in Afghanistan, and quite a few of them seem to be ‘in Government’…

    What is it about ‘pride, in one’s country, and those that defend it,’ that socialists don’t understand?

  10. I was only interested in paying them tribute today. They don’t have the luxury of writing up on issues, though many on blogs do it for them. They simply get on with the task at hand. Successfully and courageously and from some of the youtubes you get a glimpse at when they get their asses shot at, with good humour.

    It is possible for us as a nation to salute our heroes simply and without a ‘yes but’. Occasionally.

  11. Agreed, – very nice that appreciation is shown by some of us, but the maltreatment continues, and has done so for many years.

    Never must the government feel comfortable with the way they treat the military, and every opportunity must be taken to remind them of the fact. we show we care by doing so…

    Remember – it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease!

    Unfortunately pride neither feeds the body, nor the soul!.