‘Speaking for soldiers through history…’

Paul Finegan. Author of Afghan Days Babylon Nights CD at Wilton Park War Memorial, Hawick.
Paul Finegan. Author of Afghan Days Babylon Nights CD at Wilton Park War Memorial, Hawick.

POIGNANT words from Hawick poet Paul Finegan will be read at a special Voices of War commemoration in Ayr this weekend, writes Bob Burgess.

Two poems from his just-published CD, Afghan Days, Babylon Nights, have been chosen for the fundraiser in aid of Combat Stress.

The selected works, right, are among 24 penned by the poet that put the casualties the Afghanistan conflict – the dead and the maimed – very much to the forefront of remembrance commemorations.

Paul, a member of the Borders Writers Forum, says: “These poems are recorded in remembrance of those whose service was so simply, regularly and movingly honoured at Wootton Basset.

“In no other walk of life than that of a member of the armed forces can you be in a position where that life may be deliberately taken from you within a very short time of finishing training.

“The poems speak for the voice of the ordinary soldier throughout history. They deal with the themes of living and loss, of conflict and courage, of service and combat stress, and of the duties that governments owe to those forces that they send into harm’s way. Above all they speak of the immutability of resilience of the human spirit.”

Anne Brown, director of Ayr’s Voices of War event said: “The writing is spare...shocking, emotional and beautiful. The words leave the listener feeling like an eavesdropper on private feeling.”

Last year, Paul read his poem The Gurkhas Betrayed in front of Dame Vera Lynn when the Forces Literary Organisation Worldwide published its anthology Poems of the Poppies.

His CD is on sale in local bookshops with proceeds going to military charities.