Ah didny recognise him fae the eulogy.
The meenister'd nivver met the lad, Ah could see.
A hero? Aye, mibbe. Jist a name tae maist ay these fowk.
But ah kent im as a boay,
the daft wee scapegoat, ayewis in boather,
but nae real hairm in im.
He wis the lad wha'd get skelped, the noise
makkin the teacher turn is heid
jist in time tae spot im skelpin back.
Mairched tae the heidie again.
"Yir a bad lot, Barry.
Yir faither wis a bad lot too."
Da in the jile,
Ma aff her face on smack,
an him, daft, funny, doomed.
If onybody at hame had cared enough
tae keep the schuil photies,
they'd have shown a wee freckly laddie
wi a too-open grin,
year eftir year,
jersey gettin tattier,
teeth getting gappier,
still grinnin while the rest ay us
were far too cool tae smile for the camera.
Ah liked im.
Didny unnerstaun how the teachers
were sae ***** tae im.
There wis far badder boays in the year.
Ricky ****** Jackson - a nasty, sleekit wee body,
yankin ab'dy's strings.
But his da wis rich
an the teachers fawned ower im.
No Baz, though.
Cannon fodder, richt enough.
Tackin the flack fir the rest ay us.
Exactly the kind ay lad
the ******* Army thrives on.
Ah canny feel the patriotic pride,
canny picture the self-sacrifice,
Ah can juist see im,
daft an grinnin,
daein whit he wis tellt
an gettin killt.
he wis aye headin for the poppies, that yin,