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Keeping the Watch ©

U A Fanthorpe
England
2004

Always awake. That's the job. Always
Not dozy nightwatchmen, who shout on the hour
All's well! It never is. The Black Watch,
Awake at all the hours there are, know better.

Mopping up after the Old Pretender,
Endlessly eyeing choleric disarmed clans,
Here they go, another branch of the great tree,
Rooted in history, sprouting in present air,
Linked in brotherhood by the red hackle,
The dark plaid, the wars. Slipstream of tradition
Dockets their honours in places far from Scotland -
Fontenoy, Seeingapatam, Waterloo,
Tel-el-Kebir, Mons, Ypres, Passchendael -
And so on, grim sweet tally of lives, of deaths
In endless foreign fields.
                                              They did, they do
So much. The stoic wives, the anxious children.
We need their watchfulness, all the world over.
Don't put them down


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