Wilfred Owen said he wanted to write of the “Pity of War”. He did that so well. I saw things through different eyes in a different time and in beautiful and far away places. With the backdrop of forests, mangroves and the tropical seas things seemed more contrasting to me. The stink of phosphorous within the exotic ecology of North Borneo seemed so brutal.
He still sees the glint of sunlight
Those two men were clear on the height,
I noted their slow stooping run,
Through the sun’s glint on the fore sight
Quite calmly I aimed the bren gun.
I felt the recoil in my shoulder,
Heard metal sounds of the spent rounds,
Chill gripped my soul and grew colder.
My conscience screamed like baying hounds.
The men jerked up static and stiff,
Each grunted a guttural sound,
There came an end to this mischief
As folding they slumped to the ground.
I still see the glint of sunlight,,
There on the fore sight of the gun
But an evil can’t be put right:
“Oh My God – Just what have I done!”
Aftermath of Action
Sweet sickly smelled the killing scene
Where so much rich red blood congealed.
The scene seemed intimate, serene,
As if some sacred scroll was sealed!
Until all of their blood had chilled
He stood in shock and shook with grief;
As violently as they’d been killed
This aftermath brought no relief.
There was there now a strange bond sealed
‘tween soldier and his victim
And his stained soul would hold concealed
How killing them had altered him.
For really, he could not see why
All these young men just had to die.
Tauau Bay, Sabah, 1963
Tracer tracks and the stinking smell of smoke,
For it was there faith sank without a splash
As hope ebbed slowly in the stink and choke
To the sounds of fire and the distant flash.
Then charity failed and it had to go
As landing craft ran round into the bay;
Helicopters whirled down and flew in low,
The action was fought out on that fine day,
With pressure on triggers so gently squeezed
Until the gun recoils against your grip.
Death in a vicious spitting hail’s unleashed.
This with the flashes from a distant ship
And with the whine of shells erupting fire
There came the news stories written by a liar
From: “Saga of Sabah”, 2002