On Hearing the News in C.M.F.

Robin Benn

The major issues are too large
this universal war enwraps
the details of a bayonet charge
in parcels of discarded maps.
The news at six and eight and ten
leaves little time for sorrow;
the Army's on the move again -
where shall we be tomorrow?
For Patton, Hodges, Tolbukhin
may take this town, that city;
the uninvited thought creeps in
that shell wounds are not pretty.
As common thoughts obtrude themselves
to make the edge of sense more blunt;
each one the bigger picture shelves
and gazes, anxious, to his front.
The War is going well. - Enough!
The end is any date you choose;
and, while the soldier does his stuff,
the public will not lack for news.

C.M.F. = Central Mediterranean Forces

From Oasis into Italy -- Shepheard-Walwyn Ltd (1983)