Sunset Ceremony

'Parade!' The commander booms a shout,
To leave the troops without a doubt,
That orders are for back erect,
Rifles trussed to give the effect
Of proud and obedient men.

'Attention!' Roars the next command,
And duteous to his demand,
Fifty legs are lifted high
And stomped to the ground to amplify
The sound of obedient men.

Fifty pairs of jet bulled shoes
Reflect the twilight's smoking hues.
Bayonets and webbing gleam,
Furbished with such laboured sheen
By proud and obedient men.

'General Salute, Present Arms!'
A three-point crash between the palms.
One foot back in timed perfection,
A rack of rifles for inspection,
With bayonets to the stars.

Officers stand majestically,
As marches on the Colour Party.
The silken Squadron Colours flow,
As gilded guards and pommels glow
On saluted swords held low.

Outside the Mess there's quite a throng,
The officers, one hundred strong,
With all their guests and VIPs,
The Station Commander stood at ease
On the dais, quiet and still.

The officers have taken post.
Silently, remain their host.
The officers stand tall, supreme,
Scabbards down the left hand seam.
Waiting, patiently.

The crowd, they quickly plug their ears,
For in the distance they can hear
The flypast coming, swooping low,
The engines screech, the burners glow,
To launch it to the stars.

There's no reprieve for men stood braced,
For in the loud Tornado's haste,
It left their ears in ringing tones,
And shook their bodies to the bones.
But soon the ringing dies.

The ringing dies, and on parade,
From underneath the mast is played,
The bugle's solit'ry 'Last Post',
And all around the feel of ghosts,
Of heroes laid to rest.

'Quick March!' And 'Halt!' Then troops stand fast.
'Right Turn!' They start the marching past.
They cross the dais with 'Eyes Right!'
'Eyes Front!' Once they move out of sight
Of the Station Commander's salute.

March on and round with crunching sound,
As fifty heels punish the ground.
The darkness steals away the light
As troops march off and ghosts take flight,
They've gone to their graves again.

Those proud and obedient men.