At the recent remembrance Sunday Church Parade, in Ashford Town, with eight of my old red-cap colleagues, surrounded by different coloured berets of many old soldiers of the various regiments, I thought of how each year we all get a little older, until we reach the final parade. Coupled with that was the memory of reading a story or a poem about a soldier being on that last parade, so wrote this poem........


By Len A.Hynds

Charlie stood at attention there,
he'd known it would come to pass.
He hoped his boots were shining bright,
and his buttons made of brass.

It looked like another court martial,
but the officers looked most odd.
The one called Peter, wore white robes,
with the judge on a throne, like god.

That Peter said, with a puzzled frown,
"Just how shall I deal with you.
Have you always turned, the other cheek,
and to our church, been true?”

Charlie spoke with his cockney voice,
staring straight ahead,
knowing he must be careful,
in everything he said.

So in defence, he spoke out loud,
"No sir, I guess I aint,
cos most of us who carry guns,
can't always be a saint."

"I've ‘ad to shoot people, on Sundays,
when I should ‘ave bin in church,
but you don’t argue wiv our Sergeant,
you'd soon be in the lurch."

"A funny old life a soldier,
and at times my talks bin rough,
and sometimes I've bin violent,
cos my world is bloody tough."

"Now I know, just where I am,
I thought you'd give me a miss.
Not worthy in your scheme of things,
I've heard your world is bliss."

I know I don't deserve a place,
among your people here.
Those down below didn't want me around,
except to calm their fears.

But if you've a place here for me sir,
it needn't be so grand.
I've never expected, or had too much,
if you aint, I'll understand.

Peter smiled, “Come in young man,
you have borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully, your time has come,
you've done your time in hell."

St Peter at the gates of Heaven