I dreamt of old Canal Zone and those miles of scrubby sand
That was home to thousand of us sent to serve in Egypt’s land;
Beside the arid hills of Fayid I heard on midnight air
The sound of Merlin engines, a York was landing there.
I dreamt I saw our tent lines and the dusty square I’d strode
Thought I heard a Q L Bedford screaming down the Treaty Road.

But my dream illusion vanished with the rising of a sun
That revealed just broken rubble where black ants search and run;
In the hot and empty silence only dust filled eddies hung
Where once our pay-night voices through the N.A.A.F.I. roof had rung
Just a cracked old stretch of roadway, just a crumbled length of wall
Soon there would be nothing left to show that we were here at all.

Wonder what became of Yorkie, Geordie, Brummie, Jock and Taff?
Faded faces half forgotten in a dog-eared photograph

Then a crimsoned sun to westward turned to red the desert brown
Strains of ‘Now the Day is Over’, Forces Network closing down
So I lingered one last moment, stood up straight and turned about
Sensed I heard a distant bugle sound a fading last ‘Lights Out’

David Canrey


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