24 OCTOBER 1952, Page 10

El Alamein Cemetery

TEN years have passed since frantically they dug Their careful holes,in sand and history; They wrote their 'airmail letters which proclaimed How much they missed their wives or girls, or beer; And sometimes they remembered how each England Behaved at this autumnal time of year.

There were as many Englands as there were Exiles to mourn their loss. For one, a town Where in the gutters, like conspirators, The leaves at night assembled whispering; For one, a scented hill of beech and birch; For one, a bed and warm limbs loving, clinging.

I wish to celebrate those patriots, The browned-off conscript and time-serving man. They all agreed profanely that the sand Was of God's works least easy to explain.- They called it barren; yet that night they sowed A kind of garden at El Alamein.