Thursday, 8 November 2012

AEDM Day 8

He sleeps
His pack for a bed
Cold unyielding metal for a pillow.
Cradled in his arms, his rifle,
His constant companion.

Tyres whine on hard road
Metal squeaks and creaks and groans
Canvas slaps in the cold slipstream
The engine sings its song
A steady, monotone lullaby

The lullaby changes
The tyre's whine becomes a rumble
He is aware
Head lifts, hands move, alert
Around him in the dim light others react
Listening, waiting

The truck slows, gears descending
A lurch and he's pushed against the side
The engine growls, speed picks up
Just a bend, just a bend
He relaxes, huddles down

He sleeps,
And listens,
And waits

I had thought of saving this for Sunday, but I'll do something different for that occasion..

As I said on Monday, this idea has been rattling around in my head for quite a while. I can't remember what initially sparked the desire to sketch it, but the imagery comes from my past.
I can't count how many times I've sat in the back of a Bedford, huddled up against the cold, lulled to a shallow sleep by the sounds of the truck, trying to put off that final moment when it will come to halt and we'll have to climb out and face the future.
Mostly it would be the prospect of spending a day on a barren freezing range, or having to spend a few days in the middle of nowhere on a training exercise.
But occasionally the future was unknown.......

This is for all those others who have taken the same ride.


  1. A wonderful sketch and poem Nigel! We will remember! xx

  2. Your poem expresses exactly the feeling I got from the painting - the two make a terrific 'whole'.

  3. oh Nigel... what a fabulous drawing and the writing!!! OMG, the writing... i saw some of your other interpretations (in gouache and acrylic) and i really love this one in pencil. i love how there's almost a cloud around him, and the rest is left white - or blank... kind of what his future MUST have felt like sometimes. Facing the unknown. Yes, love it. A wonderful tribute to so many. Beautiful work, Nigel. xox

  4. Wonderful imagery, your poem really drew me in.

  5. Nigel your writing is AWESOME... loved that sooo much I can't tell you... called in Phantom to read it and she declared it was bloody good... high praise from the toughest audience I know and totally deserved... great post...xx

  6. I love the pairing of the story with the image. Love the almost hazy quality of the drawing. It feels almost as if he has gone into a trance...waiting.

  7. You said it all, words and image.....very moving.