Wall of Honour
R V Jones
136 Jones, Paper-Boy
and we are
so many wonderful men.
says my sergeant.
says Second Lieutenant Phipps
There is a bit of jostling, a little shove here
and there - Chalky is upside down. Fer fuck's sake
say something funny he says - that Chalky! We fall
together, as if on feathers
all present and incorrect, Sir
our various pieces,
softly, the rain pink, innocence put away,
and Billy asks
how long have we been lying here? Arranged like this
here in a field for planting, there the village lights.
I feel a bit put out and want to pull myself together
but Lieutenant Phipps says at ease Jones and asks
which one am I - the apprentice paper-hanger down from
Bawtry, or the newspaper lad from Leeds?
I’m 136, Sir
no-one is counting now. Hear
whispering, “Sleep!” Remember
we are lads together
the body now beside me is my own.
‘136 Jones, Paper-Boy’ by R V Jones won First Prize
in the Sentinel Annual Poetry Competition 2014