He was just a black dot in the desert,
it was the buzzards that caught my eye.
They were circling above, but always alert,
just waiting to see me drive by.
It was a soldier, laying there dead,
a young Egyptian, who’d died of thirst.
Those large birds had half eaten his head,
I fired in anger and cursed.
They settled down, some distance away,
as I looked at that young man so still.
From his neck I took his disc so grey,
slowly reading his name with a chill.
Abdul Latif, that plastic it read,
a soldier for the young King Farouk.
Now in Sinai he lay here dead,
did he know when that shilling he took.
In his battle the Israelis had won,
most Egyptians had fled to the rear.
Their officers had already run,
and poor Abdul had wandered in fear.
To the south, lost he had gone,
to the silent wilderness there.
Where the merciless sun always shone,
bringing blindness and death in its glare.
I took a picture from his hand,
and a letter from his mum.
I buried him in that deep sand,
the buzzards watched me dumb.
I stood in silent homage still,
his god I didn’t know.
A soldiers silent farewell drill,
before I had to go.
His burial spot will never be found,
beside that tall shifting dune,
even though I marked his mound,
it would be covered so soon.
I only hope his mother was told,
that I had buried her son with respect,
by an English Christian, in that land so old,
and not left to a timeless neglect.
This is part of an 'Egyptian Trilogy' all relating to the same incident,
the second being, 'The Dream', and the third, ' A Soldiers Last Request'.