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Remembrance poems and prose

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Jules77
Remembrance poems and prose

Hi all,

A new thread.

My take on the battle for Passchendaele, July 31st to November 10th 1917

Half a million young men dead, a further half a million traumatised or crippled.
For five miles of man made swamp and a ruined village. All by the orders of a few

              Passchendaele.

We should be reminded of Passchendaele.’s insanity
Where half a million young men were killed needlessly
Through commands of generals and their Chief-of Staff
Whose statues stand so uneasily by the great Cenotaph

Three months of killing for nothing, dare you deny
For today, many millions look down and ask, why?
No purpose was served, no backing from any God
Traumatised boys had to obey or face a firing squad.

How stupid, when ready to attack a whistle is blown,
sends a signal to Germans who will then have known,
that over the top men now charge, in fears mortal grip,
Just lambs to the slaughter as machine guns let rip.

Forward through mud, gas, smoke and barbed wire
Behind; useless tanks, defunct in the mud and fire
Young minds to be extinguished in no-man’s-land
By bullet, shells and gas, no human could withstand.

In stinking mud they advanced many a man crying
Over those who went before them, now dead or dying
Lives shattered and ended, while a bunch of fools
Discuss why frightful Germans had broken the rules.

What reason, what excuse can be ever contrived,
to term such senseless raw slaughter as justified?
We should bow, remember or pray, as it should be,
For boys and men sacrificed, for King and country.

For all those who were killed in that dreadful affray
a place in our thoughts should for our lifetime stay
A hundred years have gone since the end of the tale
We should never forget the folly of Passchendaele.

Jules77.
(Some back-up below).

Why is the battle regarded as controversial?
Many historians have questioned why Haig allowed his soldiers to continue the offensive; throughout the attack the commander was under constant pressure to halt it. Plus, the British and Empire forces advanced only five miles yet suffered at least a quarter of a million casualties.
The Prime Minister David Lloyd George disapproved of the plan, only allowing it to happen as there were no other credible ideas at the time. In his War Memoirs, published in 1938, he wrote: "Passchendaele was indeed one of the greatest disasters of the war ... No soldier of any intelligence now defends this senseless campaign”.

Sassoon's take on the attack

Siegfried Sassoon, whose poetry famously depicted the horrors of trench warfare, mentioned the battle in his poem Memorial Tablet. Penned a month before the war's end in October 1918 and first published in his 1919 collection Picture-Show, the poem is narrated by a dead soldier.
 
Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight,
(Under Lord Derby’s Scheme). I died in hell -
(They called it Passchendaele). My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duck-boards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.
At sermon-time, while Squire is in his pew,
He gives my gilded name a thoughtful stare;
For, though low down upon the list, I’m there;
‘In proud and glorious memory’...that’s my due.
Two bleeding years I fought in France, for Squire:
I suffered anguish that he’s never guessed.
Once I came home on leave: and then went west...
What greater glory could a man desire?

Siegfried Sassoon

Jules77

daffy

good time to post that Jules. Thankyou. We must never forget those men.

2 of my great uncles fought in WW1. One was gassed but survived and came back to live in a little back to back house, working as a postman. His wife nursed him through many bouts of ill health. Taking home cooked food into hospital for him. Doctors said he only lived as long as he did due to her care.

The other was a cavalry man, teaching rookie soldiers horsemanship before they went to war. After a while he decided it was wrong to send such young men out to die&enlisted himself.

Dreadful times for many ordinary people

D

Jules77

Hi daffy,

An interesting little story and so typical. Yes, we should not forget what happened.

Both my granddads were in the 1st WW. One was in the trenches but survuved for three years. Appparently he was very traumatised when he came home and lost his job with thhe local aristocrat, who ironically had encooraged him to join the Norfolk Regiment. He wasn'tt an alcoholic but had drink sessions that were quite frequent for some time after dishcarge.

My other granddad never saw action and was only in for a year. I think he was discharged in 1915. Why we don't know.

A great-uncle was killed in France.

Jules77

 

daffy

Hi Jules

I think the horrors of WW1 must have touched almost every everyone in the land. Loosing a friend or family member or someone returning physically or mentally changed forever. But remained patriotic. The cavalry uncle apparently tried to enlist again for WW2 but had to settle for the Home Guard

I can't remember where I read this quote on that war "Lions led by donkeys" but it always comes to mind this time of year

MrJohnnyParky

My wife's great aunt was a victim of an experiment leaving her unable to have children. Not sure if was Mengele or one of the others who don't deserve the title of Doctor. She married a Polish pilot who had escaped been killed by the Nazi's and fled to Canada and joined and fought for the Canadian Air Force and survived. Although traumatised by the barbaric incident they adopted.

So many lives affected  in so many ways and so many given to end it and as mentioned still going on today:

Lest we forget

A grateful beneficiary 

 

Lin

I have a whole collection of wartime poems that I have written over the past few years. I made a booklet using Microsoft Publisher, as I do with all my poems, eventually.

Waiting for Silence

It is ten to ten in the morning, this is Armistice Day,
In a little over an hour, I’ll bow my head and pray.
I’ll think about the soldiers who fought in two World Wars,
To ensure I lived in freedom, upholding humane laws.
I’ll think about my Grandad, who fought along the Somme
And my Dad flying over Germany, commanded to drop bomb.
I’ll think of other conflicts so many now to name
Is it politicians that we should hold to blame?
But here I am, now ten past ten, I’m warm and fed and free!
With tears to shed and thanks to give to those who died for me.

WHERE POPPIES GROW

On golden fields under azure sky,
A splash of scarlet caught the eye.
Saddened heart flew at a pace
To other fields, another place.
Battlefield awash with blood,
Young soldiers dead in all that mud.
Azure sky, golden sun,
Turn away, what good was done?

Here lies his body, a boy too young,
In this grave, his life unsung.
A mother’s child, how could he know
Just how far they’d make him go?
Another hill, a deeper trench,
mud and water, evil stench!
Over the edge into No-Man’s-Land,
Orders! Orders!
High Command!

Splash of scarlet, azure sky,
Soldiers fell but did not die.
Their names live on, carved in stone,
Brothers-in-arms!
Never alone.
What good was done, it’s hard to know
Buried in fields where poppies grow.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM

mike 700

I wish I had your ability Lin, really good poems 

 

 

Grown men praying Padre did I hear you say
Not any of my team Padre no sir, no way
Each of my guy's a trained Killer not a little mouse
Nah, the women do all the praying in their house

They're Special Forces Padre , creme de la creme
Praying is alien to hard men like them
When 'Charlie' attacks us with rifle & a scream
He's attacking the top guys , the elite , yes sir, the cream

Look out Padre there's some incoming shells
Cover your ears or you'll be forever hearing bells
Look out look out Jonno ,what the hell is that
Down by your feet Padre damn, it's, it's his head ,still in his hat

Jonno oh Jonno God he's brown bread
Lying there bleeding and no blinking head
Padre hey Padre say some thing please
I need you to help us, the fear, the tension to ease

More coming in damn ,Freddy just bought it
Jesus sweet Jesus please get us out of it
God what the hell was that , damn I'm getting all hot & sweaty
Did I post that letter to Dad , and the one to my sister Betty

Did you see that Padre, Padre wake up, please don't let go
Wake up damn you , pray for me and my mate Joe
Only three of us left and more hell coming in
Can your God forgive me Padre for my life of sin,

This may be my last day on your God's earth
Wake up Padre pray pray pray for all your worth
Look, look there , oh God forgive me I pray
Just let me see my family please, for just one more day

What the hell is that terrible,terrible smell
Padre can you hear me oh hell oh hell oh hell
Here comes Charlie rifle & scream
He not going get me , top guy - the cream

'cause when the going gets tough
The tough will get rough
No need to pray now, not even now on my very last day
I don't need God now Padre i've got adrenalin, I don't need to pray

Hell what's that warm wet feeling down in my gut
Drifting away Padre going down ?, but
I didn't need God I'm a tough Geordie lad
But I can't focus can't breathe , Dad, oh Dad, where are you Dad

Padre wake up please , Padre just wake.
Help me find God please before it's too late
Don't know what I'm saying,  but I see a light
Guide me towards it Padre so warm & so bright

Lin

I love your writing Mike and I'm always very glad when you pop in Creative Corner for a while.

Birdsong

They told him it was over,
They said the war was won,
No more filthy trenches,
He could lay down his heavy gun.
He stood in lonely silence,
But something caught his ear,
A lilting, lovely birdsong
Sung out loud and clear.
Four years of fierce fighting,
The singing seemed to say,
Countless young men killed!
I’ll sing for them today.

The soldier stood in silence
As others walked away,
Wreaths of scarlet poppies
Laid out on display.
His thoughts flew to a battlefield
And birdsong filled the air,
Singing for the soldiers
Who had fallen there.
A war to end all others,
The singing seemed to say,
But before anyone could catch them,
Those words had flown away.

 

 

TeeHee

Mike and Lin, gets the message across of the devastating impact of war. x

TeeHee

Lin , lovely to read your poems, not so long to the next one eh?  EM intuitive stuff xx

TeeHee

Feel like an amateur critic ,   " a jolly good read"    " made me feel alive"    " memories jumped from the page"   I did learn at Uni,  if essays not so good they were always "interesting"  :  )  : )  : )

Xx 

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