You can only worry about what you can help
(after Uncle Sol by ee cummings)

by Michael Brett

My Uncle Sid was soft in the head
So they put him on anti-aircraft duty
In Hyde Park,
Next to an ATS-a women's army battery.

When we were children he would make us laugh
By making all the noises of his gun and the air raids-
Unselfconsciously-like a child (he must have been fifty):

"What did the gun sound like when you loaded it, Uncle Sid?"
"It went clang, kerchunk."
"And when you fired the gun?"
"Boom!" He would shout wild-eyed, shaking the tea pot and cups.
"Boom!"
Then he would imitate the planes flying over (rrrrrr)
And the bombs falling around Victoria Station (zveeeoooo)

One night, the Army Officer in charge
Of the women's battery was killed
So Uncle Sid pulled the string to fire their gun.

Only men were allowed to fire the Women's Army Gun.
The War Office said that the hand that rocked the cradle
Could not fire a gun.

So Uncle Sid pulled the Women's Army string
And he was quite badly injured,
Not by the bombs but the Army's own shells;
Their shrapnel falling like rain onto Hyde Park
After the shells had gone off at 13,000 feet.

My mother said he was never frightened
As he had no imagination, luckily,
And she said he was wise in his way
As you shouldn't worry about what you can't help.
Remember that, she said. It's good advice

-Especially when the whole world is going zveeeooo
And rrrrr.


~
Copyright © 2014 - Michael Brett
Published: 1/23/14   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem