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brantingham dale, 1995

I watched the sunrise blearily as I heard the familiar clink
of the glass against the bottle and the pouring of the drink
sipped the brandy carefully because there was no more
as the empty bottle slowly rolled across the floor
to rest against the others from that long night
that had seen us through to this early morning light.
from sunset to sunrise we'd talked away the years
only starting on the spirits after finishing all the beers.

in the annals of military history the battle of effeld isn't found
there are no cryptic footnotes or monuments on the ground
there was no property damage on the site where it was fought
and the total of fatalities came to a resounding nought
weapons were unusual, spirits, schnapps and beer
but the lack of things more usual didn't make it less sincere
it was fought between the regulars of arno buchen's pub
and three yorkshire squaddies with a scouser as a sub

after fifteen gruelling sessions each night fought fair and hard
it had to be postponed a day as two squaddies were on guard
it never did restart again as foe had turned to friend
and a draw was thought to be a fair and fitting end.
and for the next two years
we drank bitburger beers
in regular andcopious amounts
the only non locals with credit accounts

up the dale's long winding hill
hunched against the morning chill
these sessions always end with a vigorous walk
to blow away the cobwebs and finish off the talk.
it doesn't happen often, re-living times long gone
this isn't germany and we're no longer twenty one.

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