Off to visit my parents this weekend for my Dad’s 75th birthday. We live almost on top of the Roman wall outside of Corbridge. I thought this poem that reminds you of what it must be like being a soldier away from home, whether Romans or Syrian archers back in the first few hundred years AD, or as a soldier nowadays in Afghanistan or anywhere away from home.
Roman Wall Blues
Over the heather the wet wind blows,
I’ve lice in my tunic and a cold in my nose.
The rain comes pattering out of the sky,
I’m a Wall soldier, I don’t know why.
The mist creeps over the hard grey stone,
My girl’s in Tungria; I sleep alone.
Aulus goes hanging around her place,
I don’t like his manners, I don’t like his face.
Piso’s a Christian, he worships a fish;
There’d be no kissing if he had his wish.
She gave me a ring but I diced it away;
I want my girl and I want my pay.
When I’m a veteran with only one eye
I shall do nothing but look at the sky.
W. H. Auden