Before El Alamein
Dull, quiet and sand hills and a pallid moon, A little young moon in a cloudy drift. Small matter for a poem! I shall soon, Be old for rhyming; wonder's a child's gift And this is no child's world. This sand is mined. Planes wander like the ghosts of men who died Without absolving priest. My easier mind Finds pleasure wandering but is close tied To this steel coffin, all due service said. Quietness, but for a cricket's scrape And the far sound of gossip before bed. A dust plume travels on the distant shape Of hills, where tanks are leaguered, without sound. So, in far sand, be all day's echoes drowned.
Ronald E. Bee was in the Royal Corps of Signals, first with 8th Army Signals, then with 13 Corps Signals in Egypt, Sicily, Italy, and Austria.