by Garry Robert McDougall
Men of the Marquis strive
where the enemy dare not,
cede the embittered valley,
our doctor, tormented and shot,
teachers, beaten before roses,
men shunted to German factories,
the Rhone groaning liberation borne
of worn trousers and dirty socks.
In night's wilt showers, chill cascades
and ice, trousers and I on Venterol's
sleeping slopes, my breath warming
a cold weapon, dreaming of my wife,
a back to stroke, fingers in hair,
eyes of smoke- cheek of the Marquis-
discomfort blankets me.
Sunrise to armpit normality, watershed eyes,
forehead a palisade, a nose for no-surrender.
When the microscopic invades your scalp,
and Nazis your land, all shall itch.
People call for action, & leaders for patience.
In the Baronnie's soiled reality,
hiding refugee, airmen and escapee,
learning regimen and drill, in forty-two,
pushing Will uphill to cache and carry,
driving our trousers to the world's end,
Free France of the farm with
hoe and rifle, plough and grenade,
ready for some-day-soon.
Won't the years run Nazi's ragged?
Our leaders speak of springs welling
beneath our dirty boots, flowing
from the grit hills into valley,
nurturing the fruits of liberty.
In forty-three, we farmers forbid optimism,
the grace to fine words- infected toes bloody,
knees without sanctuary, thighs of toad and boar.
Itchiness is spiky time, all of us thinking,
our trousers bearing the years as interlude