The first eleven Boys’ Brigade
Were they mad, that generation, or simply restless
like in nineteen-fourteen, itching for war
Lemmings who know by collective instinct –
the first eleven Boys’ Brigade
the adolescent smell of leather, spunk and balls
smoking cigarettes, flicking towels, farting
running out on to the King George playing fields
and into history, like the first civil rights parades.
We looked up to them as the future
even though we feared their madness
the stink and sweat of the church hall
the picture of a young Queen looking down
on these the most disloyal of her subjects
on these the most loyal of her subjects
where loyalty given is conditional:
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