Posted by Admin on 15 May 2006, 12:00 am

They said he drank enough for three,
and in the pub each night
they welcomed spendthrift Maxie,
the local whores’ delight,

where eager spongers smoked his fags,
with spirits had a spree;
prepared to swill the ‘doubles’ down
on Maxie’s charity.

Of ox-like strength, ex-heavy-weight,
his arm a power ram,
in sober or in drunken state
a kind pacific man.

Past midnight his befuddled brain
all equilibrium denied
to legs that took him home again
in zig-zags, side to side.

There ‘tongue pie’ waited on the mat,
kin did not comprehend
it was the Russian convoys that
would haunt him to the end.

Beyond her ken the strength of mind
required to survive,
where shrieking men like torches burn,
like banshees Stukas dive.

Fragmented flesh and twisted steel,
all tales he could not tell,
of submarines that dogged their keel,
in Norsemen’s frozen Hell.

The storms, the constant tension,
the scenes for eyes unfit,
of Satan’s own invention,
the tortures of the Pit.

But soon inside that dockside inn
his name there stood for naught,
old cronies caring not a pin
now treats no more were bought.

At peace at last at fifty-one,
when, taken ill, he died;
a relic of the Murmansk run,
for long years dead inside.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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