John Simpson’s burka

John Simpson’s burka

Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?
Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?
In the heat and stink of battle,
Would you bolt with me like cattle?
Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?

Would you guide my bunker-buster for me, Lord?
Would you guide my bunker-buster for me, Lord?
In the haboob-thick fog of war,
Would you assist my AT4?
Would you guide my bunker-buster for me, Lord?

Would you sleep inside a camel with me, Lord?
Would you sleep inside a camel with me, Lord?
In the cold nights of Acacus,
Would you soothe me with maracas?
Would you sleep inside a camel with me, Lord?

Would you saw my mangled leg off for me, Lord?
Would you saw my mangled leg off for me, Lord?
In a burnt out mosque in Kabul,
Would you heed my gutt’ring babble?
Would you saw my mangled leg off for me, Lord?

Would you infiltrate the heathen with me, Lord?
Would you infiltrate the heathen with me, Lord?
With the grit of any Gurkha,
Would you don John Simpson’s burka?
Would you infiltrate the heathen with me, Lord?

Would you bite a brace of bullets for me, Lord?
Would you bite a brace of bullets for me, Lord?
At a court-martial, in The Hague,
Would you avoid me like the plague?
Or would you bite a brace of bullets for me, Lord?

Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?
Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?
If at the abyss I teeter,
If I fall foul of Saint Peter,
Would you walk the trembling embers with me, Lord?

Appears in:
Live Canon poetry prize anthology [2013]
Rhymes for all times [2015]

Notes:
In late September 2001 the War on Terror began. BBC news correspondent John Simpson became the first journalist to report from the war-zone by donning a burka and being smuggled in to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan along with a similarly disguised cameraman.

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