Before El Alamein

Ronald E. Bee

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.