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A Soldier's Book of Poems: Poems 7 & Eight.

I HAVE A FAMILY NOW I grew up lonely Did not have any friends

I would look at others As they walked hand-in-hand

I would look with envy As they shared smiles and grins;

Walking together, Their happiness never seemed to end. But I continued, Day after day; My life of emptiness,

Just seemed to stay. I became accustomed

To a life all alone

Did not imagine A wife or a home

So, I stopped trying

No longer cared That others had happiness

And I had despair But along came a woman

Who took me inside

Who loved me for who I am

Who filled me with pride We had two daughters

How proud am I A feeling of happiness

I could just cry I have a family now

How happy I feel I have a family now

It makes me feel real Yes, I have a family now

A feeling of pride Yes, I have a family now

Such love deep inside.

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WHAT DO I CALL THIS PERSON? What do I call this person

Who stands by my side Who puts up with my sense of humour

And looks at me with pride What do I call this person

Who lends a helpful hand Who seems to do all the housework

And does the best she can What do I call this person Who I’ve taken from her home Who I’ve moved to the middle of nowhere

And then left her all alone What do I call this person

Who keeps me warm at night Who fill my life with happiness

And loves me with all her might What do I call this person Who stays in my thoughts each day

Who will be a wonderful mother

And who I love in every way

What do I call this person

Who will share the rest of my life

What do I call this person

I call this person my wife.

------------------------------------------------------------------------- As noted before, I did not place my name and date of completion with my earlier poems. However, all of the poems from my book are copyright protected.

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Having just returned from Summer Leave, the Regiment went into training mode, as we had received orders to Deploy to Cyprus in March of 1982, for Peacekeeping with The United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).


Cyprus was the first time I actually feared for my safety while in the Army, and did so on three separate occasions. The first time was while conducting a foot patrol. We were mid-way through a minefield, on a narrow path, when we noticed a Black Mamba slithering towards us on the same path through the field. Those snakes are highly venomous and fast. Being in the middle of the a minefield with nowhere to go, left view options. So, affixed our bayonets and load a round in our 7.62mm Fabrique National (FN) C1A1 riffles.


Just for the record, I have a fear of snakes. So, l was extremely thankful that it went off the path and into the field, away from us. I was not far off of needing an underwear change.


My second occasion of fear also happened while on a foot patrol. While conducting a patrol thru the abandoned buildings in the Green Buffer Zone in Nicosia. Having just come out of one building block, we had to walk down a one-lane street and follow the street to the left. Which, made a 90 degree left turn at a Turkish Observation Post (OP). As we approached the Turkish OP, the soldier manning the OP, cocked his weapon (loaded a round from the magazine) and pointed it at us. My patrol mate and I stopped, then started walking again. The soldier took his weapon off safe. We stopped, then loaded a round in our weapons. The soldier pulled his trigger, then started laughing. He must of had an empty magazine. Real funny.


The third occasion was while manning an OP during heightened tensions. A Greek Cypriot Civilian made the mistake of driving his vehicle into the Buffer Zone. The Turkish Soldiers opened up on him (fired at him) with a 50 Calibre, heavy machine gun. The entire Sector went into a pre-combat mode, as the Greek Cypriots Soldiers in the closest OP, fired at the Turkish OP, killing one Soldier. The immediate exchange of fire ceased between the two OP's, but both sides began reinforcing their OP's and occupying their fighting positions.


Our duties while deployed rotated weekly between three OP Sectors, Head Quarters Security and the Rapid Reaction Force (RRF). Our Section was on the RRF that day. Between each of the continually occupied OP's are several un-occupied OPs. It was to one of these OP's that I and my OP mate were deployed. It just happened to be the OP that overlooked the section of the Buffer Zone where the exchange of gun fire occurred. Having just celebrated my 19th Birthday on an OP just down the road last week, this 19 year old spent a very uncomfortable 12 hours. Mostly in the dark, with a 1980s era Starlight Scope, and a good Watch Mate, watching some activity and listening to much more.


Tensions had leveled off a bit after the initial 6 hours. Until a Greek Cypriot National Guards Soldier thought that a heightened level of war footing would not stop him from his routine upon the start of his Watch, of leaving his OP, walking 100 feet down the street to the Turkish OP and talking with his new friend, a Turkish Regular Force Soldier. Who, was not occupying that OP at that time. The new occupants of that OP shot him dead. That immediately escalated tensions again, and for the next few hours there were sporadic exchanges of gun fire between the two sides.


I will continue my story in the next blog.


Ed

E.J.R. Hardy.






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Kim Holland Shepherd
Kim Holland Shepherd
Jul 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I love reading these...

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Poetry by E.J.R. Hardy
Poetry by E.J.R. Hardy
Jul 04, 2023
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Thank you, Kim, I am glad you do. I also appreciate that you took the time to read this blog. Ed.

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