A Hospital Ship at Tobruk

Gary Miller
Language: English

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Inspired by 'A Hospital Ship at Tobruk', the memoirs of Effie Townend, a nurse from Selby, awarded the Royal Red Cross for her duty aboard HMHS Somersetshire; Nurse Effie, a painting by Beryl Trist; and comments by Chris Chambers.
Reading your memoirs transported me
Across the years over Time’s rolling sea
Of the salt sea air and its smells I partook
As I stood on a hospital ship at Tobruk

You gave me a feel for the casualty rate
They were shovelling them out in increasing spate
Just one theatre of operations on which I did look
As I stood on a hospital ship at Tobruk

I witnessed the bombardment; I saw the shells burst
I tasted the blood; I was choking from thirst
I heard a machine-gun go rat-a-tat-tat
To the beat of your resolute heart

“You are real, you’re a woman!” a young laddie cried
You became real to me as I read of your trials
An angel in white, tending her flock
Of wounded on a hospital ship at Tobruk

So standing there ’midst the sights and the smells
My senses experiencing part of the hell
Just a small part of you, I trembled and shook
As I stood on a hospital ship at Tobruk

Then back to the present safely I stand
There is still part of you I can touch with my hand
Your cape and your medals, your portrait so fine
Gazing out at me out of time

Contributed by dq82 - 2017/4/6 - 12:56

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