“Alone I Stood” A poem by NMC's Jack Smith to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War

Today marked the 35th anniversary of Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands which lasted 74 days and resulted in Britain taking back their sovereign land in the South Atlantic.

New Media Central is not really a platform for me to showcase my works of poetry, but as my good friend and NMC chief Ian Erickson is a poet himself, I’ve been given license to go ahead and publish this one. It’s based on the true story of an Argentine conscript who, once having spent a mere few days on the Islands, and saw how the British culture and way of life was ingrained into the Falklands, and that he and his fellow soldiers should not be there. It is told through his point of view.

“Alone I Stood”

My madre me kissed me goodbye at the door.

My padre shook my hand with terrorised eyes,

For I was to embark into daft war.

It was not supposed to be, but cruel lies

Told us we were to liberate with no law

And without fight from enemies or spies.

As the sun rose we told the residents

To hang your white flags and simply relent.

 

As dawn broke into a cold April day,

I heard of the demise of some comrades

On the frosty fields their dead bodies lay.

The local defence had force, unafraid

They were of mere kids, I suppose it pays

To be a man and not a boy. They laid

Down their weapons only when they had used

All the bullets on us, our anger fused.

 

Those first few days made me feel like a man,

As I strutted through Islas Malvinas.

We made them speak Spanish and put a ban

On driving on the left. We marched en-masse

To every home, random searches were ran,

And punish any word spoken in English – crass.

But the general held his gun to the face

Of a small child. Are we in the right place?

 

I walked the streets as their governor flew home

And saw red phone boxes, some photographs

Of Queen Elizabeth. In gardens, gnomes

Dressed like morris dancers, on the garden path

I heard Land of Hope and Glory. Alone

I stood in regret, as then I heard half

Of the royal navy sailing this way,

Apparently unhappy with our stay.

 

Kids we became once more when the British

Faced us with camouflage on their faces,

Before them we flapped like a gasping fish.

Men who could hang us up by their laces.

No longer alone in regret, I wish

We never left the daily rat races.

We were out on our ear, feeling bereft

As we headed home, driven on the left.

 

To my countrymen I was made to feel

Like a failure, a pariah, an outcast.

For some repentance, I was made to kneel,

Beg, apologise, show regret, and fast.

Stand in the rain until my skin would peel,

No longer did I feel very welcome back

I will always miss my Argentina,

But I’ll go somewhere where the grass is greener.

 

My madre kissed me goodbye at the door.

My padre shook my hand with happy eyes

As I left home, stiff upper lip, clenched jaw

To somewhere I would never be chastised.

This time I came in peace, to obey law

And without desire to plot their demise.

To the Falkland Islands, I’m welcomed back

To stay this time, beneath the Union Jack.

God bless the Falkland Islands, and those who live on them, for they, and the land, are forever British.

 

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