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Wall of Honour


R V Jones


136 Jones, Paper-Boy


Howl, HOWL, Whizbang!  and we are flying

so many wonderful men. No Loitering

says my sergeant. Expectoration Forbidden

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


Yes, together, 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


You See? But no-one is counting now.  Hear the voices

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



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