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Bitter Sweet Memories Concluded

Almost fifty years had passed.
I was emerging from the deep
Dark place created by the death
Of my wife of over forty years:
A reunion was arranged.
Seven of my friends from
My Army days gathered us
In our old village pub where
We'd all last been together
More than  half a lifetime ago,
And we rolled away the years.
Mentally teenagers again.

The Proprietor, the daughter of my
Old  friend,  where I'd celebrated
The  birth of his firstborn, her brother
With many a glass of free Pils.
The village just enough changed
To make the return less painful.
The old house that I'd sneaked in
To spend long nights with my lover
Demolished, replaced by a square.
A village Market place or such,
And the whole row of houses gone .

Up the unchanged tree lined road
I'd strolled along in the early hours
Back to barracks where the regiment
Was based, but now almost completely
Erased by the new housing estate.
The Drill Square  now overgrown
The Regimental Headquarters
Where the heated argument with
A Very Senior Officer had taken place
That had led to my Open Arrest
Months later in Gatwick Airport
And return to Corps Depot and

Humiliation while they attempted
To gather the evidence for my
Court Martial for Subversion
And insubordination, now gone.
I had never been a good soldier
But considered good at my trade
Whose practice and stress led
To a heavy drinking environment,
Where at just nineteen years old
I carried more responsibility than
I was ever to carry  in the whole
Of  rest of my ensuing life.

And, now at a time of deepest sorrow,
My old friends had combined
For five days to help bring me back
From the depths of despair at my loss,
And to review our divergent lives
Renew our friendships, until then
Conducted in cyber space.
After all those years those enduring
Friendships helped in a time of need
Now, able to start rebuilding my life
I left bolstered up by their efforts
And our shared Bitter Sweet Memories

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