A Grand Night
When the film Tell England came
To Leamington, my father said,
‘That’s about Gallipoli – I was there.
I’ll call and see the manager…’
Before the first showing, the manager
Announced that ‘a local resident…’ etc.
And there was my father on the stage
With a message to the troops from Sir Somebody
Exhorting, condoling or congratulating.
But he was shy, so the manager
Read it out, while he fidgeted.
Then the lights went off, and I thought
I’d lost my father.
The Expedition’s casualty rate was 50%
But it was a grand night out,
With free tickets for the two of us.’
D.J. Enright (b.1920), Collected Poems, OUP, 1981, 120 (Originally from his The Terrible Shears: Scenes from a Twenties Childhood, 1973).
My thanks to Professor John Ramsden for pointing this poem out to me.