The Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade
There are tears in my ink as I sit here and think
Of the glorious role I once played,
And I hope glasses clink in the toast I now drink—
To the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade!
Oh, how we would jeer if there dared to appear
Some Rover-borne cad on parade
And a Purdey, it’s clear, was just not the right gear
For the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade.
Ah, Phantoms and Sprites, gilded youth’s true delights,
And my comrades, now silvered and greyed,
We were latter-day knights as we zeroed our sights
In the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade.
Remember the quips as the birds would eclipse
The sun, and create that dense shade?
My heartbeat still skips at the cry on our lips—
Steady, Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade!
Lord, the pheasant-attacks, the Lee-Enfields’ loud cracks
And the sounds those French partridges made,
Until time to relax with the slain heaped in stacks
By the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade.
I hear corks’ tiny pops, or the cries of winged stops,
As I lunch at my ease in a glade,
Or imbibe amber drops near some lead-riddled copse
With the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade.
One poor beater’s request for a bullet-proof vest
Was, regrettably, lost or mislaid,
But where he’s at rest there’s a stone to attest
From the Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade.
Is Time causing gaps in the ranks of the chaps
Former monarchs of all they surveyed?
Or were you, perhaps, just a journalist’s lapse,
Dear old Rolls-Royce and Rifle Brigade?
Jerome Betts lives in Devon, England. He has written articles for a wide variety of publications, including Verbatim, English Today and The New Writer. His verse has appeared in The Guardian,Pennine Platform, Phoenix, Poetry Nottingham, Staple, and Tribune as well as web venues like Lighten Up OnLine, The New Verse News, Per Contra and Tilt-A-Whirl.