Chosen

Chosen

I’m an ordinary baby,
Red, squalling, indignant at being dragged out into this cold, noisy world.
But to my Mum and Dad I’m beautiful – the one that they’d have chosen.

I’m an ordinary little boy, naughty sometimes, grubby sometimes.
I was third shepherd in the school Nativity. John was Joseph.
Mum and Dad think I should have been chosen.

I’m an ordinary eleven year old. I didn’t get my scholarship to the grammar school.
Peter next door did.
Mum and Dad think I should have been chosen.

I’m an ordinary fourteen year old. I wanted to work on the farm up the road.
David from the cottage by the church got the job.
Mum and Dad think I should have been chosen.

I’m an ordinary nineteen year old. I joined up to do my bit. I was hoping to be made up to L/Cpl.
George Smith got the promotion.
Mum and Dad think I should have been chosen.

I’m an ordinary twenty one year old. I lie in a cold grave in France. Above me a wooden cross.
Somebody has written in pencil “An Unknown British Soldier.”
Mum and Dad wonder why I have been chosen.

I’m still twenty one, still young, and still serving.
My tomb is in Westminster Abbey.
Kings pause and bow as they pass.
Queens lay their flowers for me.
People file past and cry for me.
Children stop and wonder who I am.

I am an ordinary man.
I am the Unknown Soldier.
My Mum and Dad don’t know that I was chosen.

Jennie Carter 2011

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