In the summer of 1945, in Holland awaiting repatriation, my father wrote and distributed a tabloid magazine for the members of his Royal Regiment group. Of course it included an interview with his chaplain and personal friend, Rev. Curry, who gave him some packages from home that could not be delivered, to help out. Thus my father “sold dead men’s cigarettes on the streets of Utrecht to pay the printer.” Here’s a poem I wrote much later:
The day peace was declared
he stood ankle deep in the flooded Rhine.
While squadrons of air command passed overhead
he walked out into a pitted field
and said to himself, What now?
I’m out of a job.
That summer he kept busy
writing, designing, collecting stories
for his regiment’s tabloid.
Sold dead men’s cigarettes on the streets of Utrecht
to pay the printer.
At home he worked behind a desk
accounting for products he had no hand in.
He ran an office here or there,
moved cities, joined clubs, had a hobby or two.
And on cool spring nights
he sometimes went walking
out beyond the streetlights where
he’d stop and stare up
at the starless sky.
- Colin Morton