He swore by the Skins, his old rep;iment.
His shop sold brushes, saucepans, chamber pots. Metal objects glittered like his smile.
His mind spewed out dollops of the Great War Dawn raids, mud, rats, glory.
In a bayonet charge he had gutted a Hun, Was angry still that Boche blood soiled His smart uniform, ruined his puttees.
Mother liked Dan, called his wife an acid drop With a tongue too long, a nose too red.
Dan's laugh could sell anybody anything.
A lovely man, we all said, a lovely man.
Then one day I came home from school
To hear that Dan had gone for the missus With a butcher's knife, that the police
Had handcuffed him and what's more
He had sobbed, told them he had deserted, Lived for years with a false discharge. Then, smiling, he jumped into the van
A wkwardly holding a bag of oranges.