War Poetry 2014

A poem from 85-year-old Don Filliston who has long remembered a family connection with The First World War. It stimulated him to write this poem.

Don Filliston’s introduction:

I am 85 and remember my father telling me about his cousin, Henry Filliston, who was killed on the western front in September, 1918.    I started writing poetry after retiring from Unilever and many of them are published in the West Sussex Gazette.    I wrote this one in honour of  Henry.

The Great War  1914 – 1918.

(Remembering how much they did for us.)

Sergeant Simms reporting Sir, in place of Lieutenant Hill.

The Troop rode out of Ypres, yesterday

And tethered horses up the road, by that old watermill;

Then towards the Hun on foot, thirty four men with a will,

To silence their machine guns, in our way.

 

We cut the wire and clambered through, midst sound of singing lead.

Our officer, pistol high, a great comrade.

We followed his example and all bravely charged ahead,

Then saw him drop like a stone, with a bullet in his head.

I was ready with my first hand grenade.

 

Chattering guns mowed us down, shells exploding all around.

Squelching mud and blood, on that treeless plain.

We wiped out their ‘nest’, just as they released gas;  our lungs drowned.

We burst out from the billowing cloud and God’s fresh air, found;

Then our thin khaki line ‘closed up’ again.

 

In the darkness, we went back, for our lost forever dead

And gently placed ten troopers on our cart.

Then, when we returned to base, I made sure the men were fed

And looking at the state of ‘em, stood them down – ‘nough said.

Lieutenant Hill had a wish, close to his heart.

 

We know that you were friends, stretching back a fair old time.

We’ll miss him and our fallen mates, of course.

Here’s a letter for his Mother, his saddle, buffed to shine;

His trenchcoat and the cap he always wore up the ‘front line’.

Sir, most of all  -  would you take on his horse?

 

Don Filliston MBE

For other war poetry presented to this website in 2014 please see the website Main Index page for other links. USE “Leave a reply” to add your own war poems.

2 thoughts on “War Poetry 2014

  1. On January 11, 2015, history was made on the streets of Paris when an estimated three million plus people defied the chill and the wet simply to register their faith in their republic and the secular values of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality it enshrines. These are values which know no barriers and admit no exceptions.
    It was a wonderful display of people power, not the power which bullies or intimidates, but the power which springs from the hearts of men and women of all colours, ages and persuasions, determined to demonstrate their solidarity in a common cause.
    Surely this is a foretaste of what can happen when enough global citizens are ready to demonstrate their determination to rid the world forever of war and all the insane anti-values it fosters.
    If, at the magic moment, all the world’s urban centres were clogged with people who refused to budge until their rulers had agreed to the setting up of a global security force to keep the peace and guard human rights, they could inaugurate a true world order, something this planet has never had but has never so urgently needed.
    Instead of national flags, the UN flag could fly in every barracks and military establishment and we could start repairing all the damage we still continue to inflict so liberally – though we could never repair the lives lost or wrecked amid the debris.
    See the websites at:
    http://www.garrettjones.talktalk.net and
    http://www.futureworthhaving.co.uk

  2. BY THE RIVER HE TOLD ME
    WAS READY TO LEAVE
    SAW IN hIS EYES THE PRIDE AND THE CALL
    SAW THE MEN OF MY OWN FAMILY
    AT MY OWN COUNTRY
    FIGHTING AND BUILDING
    PEACE WHERE EVIL TRIES TO WIN.
    JUST GO, BE THERE,
    BUT DON´CHANGE YOUR SOUL.
    BE PURE, BE STRONG
    I WILL BE THERE FOR YOU.
    IN SOME KIND OF WAY,
    ONE LIFE BEFORE
    CANDLES AND PRAYERS
    SOME LITTLE TALKS
    MY LOVE IS UNTOUCHED,
    MY PRIDE FOR HIS CHOICE IS JOY.
    HAVE YOU SEEN THAT BOY?
    HUG HIM AND BLESS HIM
    SOFTLY IN YOUR HAND
    LIGHTING HIS HEARTH
    WITH A MORNING BREEZE BLOW.

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