A Subaltern’s Love Letter*

You steal my thoughts, you speak my lines,
not now-and-then but several times
a day.

I like a show, you’ve seen it twice at least,
and say you think it’s quite the best
you’ve seen.

These stolen days while cast adrift from war,
are few, but what we share seems borne of months or
even years.

This sense of partnership is novel.
Even while we shelter in some hovel under fire we find
more fun than most.

You’re wild and gentle, positively elemental,
and cheerful too, to the point of utter

I like that; far too many people seem
to think the world owes us and them
a smile.

I just want you to know that any time
you want to meet for whisky, tea or just to talk
is fine with me.

Every week would be dandy, which for me is unheard of,
though Béthune’s not so handy
for that.

At the same time I still back entirely
your fierce love of your ambulance, and of your girls,
and afterwards, your plan to keep an appointment
with the World.


* Killed in action, September 26th 1917, Polygon Wood.

© Richard Lindsay 2015