War poetry today

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106 thoughts on “War poetry today

  1. The Wingman

    Launch into the sultry haze
    Gather the flight of four
    Climb over the languid sea
    Toward the enemy shore

    Under a crystal carapace
    Swathed in sweat-soaked gear
    A hushed, helmeted sanctuary
    Safe from all but fear

    ‘Til radar alerts expose the sites
    Marking our range, bearing, and height
    In telltale gun and missile tones
    Locking on, training their sights

    Switch to strike; Feet dry
    Master Arm on; Combat spread
    Triple A, level at twelve
    Tally the target, ten clicks ahead

    Dodge and weave along the ridge
    Charge through the dragon’s gate
    Where tracers arc across the sky
    Red with rage, tinged with hate

    Where muted bursts of flak bloom
    Marring the stark, sunlit scene
    Random drops from fortune’s pen
    Silent as my wingman’s scream

    Too late now to call the break
    For shells rising from below
    Exploding into Magic Two
    Three take the lead, I’ll cover Joe

    Get out now! Eject! Eject!
    But no answer to the plea
    Offers hope for a friend
    Mangled into a memory

    No chute from out of the smoke
    No voice from within the fire
    No blessed white bloom of hope
    From the silent, spiraling pyre

    Circle the scene, a final salute
    Climb high up into the sun
    Form the flight; set the sights
    And wreak revenge upon that gun

    Return to Yankee Station
    A somber flight of three
    A missing man formation
    A space where Two should be

    Add his name to the chosen ones
    Anointed by the callous odds
    Pack his gear and ship it home
    Commend his soul to the callous gods

    From the favored vantage of age
    Appraise the faded scenes
    Ponder the artist’s perverse intent
    In a dark gallery of dreams

    For what war’s cost was ever repaid
    What war’s lessons were ever learned
    What memories could ever replace
    Those who never returned

    Walk within the sultry haze
    Gather at the Wall once more
    Raise a hand to touch his name
    Far from the enemy shore

    Don Purdy, DFC
    This was written in March, 2017. Although it speaks of only one aviator, it was written in memory of all the pilots lost over North Vietnam while I was a Naval Aviator aboard the carriers USS Oriskany and USS Hancock from 1967 – 1969 flying 232 combat missions.

  2. I wrote this as I was moved by last year’s remembrance day.

    I answered the Call to War

    I answered the call.
    A boy standing tall;
    I didn’t think
    My name in ink,
    as I boarded the train,
    could deliver me to my demise.

    Arriving in a foreign land, 100 boys
    together, eyes surveying,
    rifle in hand.
    Adventure luring;
    the distant sirens announcing
    the reality of war.

    I stood there as cold as death.
    The thoughts stole my breath.
    Bullets and shells rained;
    my ears shook with a pain I could not name.
    The darkness vanquished for a moment
    By the brightness of hell’s flames;
    My eyes closed tight still.

    My fears I couldn’t hide
    As I stood rooted in the mud;
    the never fading memory of
    How my mother cried
    Came to mind
    As the train snaked away that day…

    …in that moment I recalled: no handkerchief waving;
    No hand wiping the air bidding me fair well;
    But a tear in her eye,
    a pain in her heart and
    A belief in her soul that I
    Wouldn’t return to her bosom again;
    Her son would be lost to war.

    War is raw backwards, it’s mirrored,
    Reflected in the blood stained puddles
    that drenched my feet.
    It felt raw;
    salt in my flesh,
    The sting of death,
    oh how I
    Long for the comforts of home!

    But here I am, living in a trench, a
    Ready dug grave?
    The stench of 99 men cannot deny
    I am a slave to the machine.
    War is a reminder, a eulogy
    of mankind’s fragility,
    but I was still standing,
    when at last, the silence fell.

  3. There was once a legend that King Arthur and his knights did not die but lay hidden, and with it went the prophecy that they would rise and come to the aid of Britain when the country was in great danger. I believe that this prophecy was fulfilled in the Summer of 1940.


    I soar and touch the cloud beneath my hand
    in blue pavilions ever do I stray
    I chase the rainbows over sea and land
    and hunt the stars by night and sun by day

    In loops and rolls I show my very skill
    the Merlin’s roar my thund’rous power proclaims
    and like an eagle stooping swift to kill
    send down my enemies in bitter flames

    O’er England’s towns and villages I speed
    my kind are Arthur’s war steeds come again
    to bear his knights we rise at England’s need
    you’ll never see the like of us again.

  4. A World War I poem:

    Victory Road

    It’s been going on for hours
    there is nothing but the shrapnel-stirred dust
    the shredding of machine guns
    a crack and thud of bullets
    screams of wounded
    they have advanced fifty yards
    but still the trams rumble down the Old Kent Road
    and the sweaty labourers scythe the swaying wheat
    pausing only to swig from the ringing cider jars
    a man shakes the last drops from his water bottle
    into his mates’ fly-encrusted mouth
    a bloody hand gropes for his sergeant’s arm
    finds clutches croaks ‘don’t let me die’
    but death claims him just the same
    in the infinite blue the skylarks still sing above the hurtling shells
    as far below men kill men who might have been their brothers
    medics flit like angels in and out of the shadows of death and
    godlike choose who will live and who will die
    the bees buzz honey-laden
    amongst the cursing sobbing half-men
    and in an overloaded hospital a wounded man
    apologises to a nurse for dying
    turns his face to the wall so as not to be a nuisance
    remembered now only in his last letter home

  5. Rupert Brooke Remembered

    If I should die
    where men are slaughtered as they thread the labyrinth of wire
    or in some far off stinking shellhole
    where the glassy-eyed drowned bob and nod in the slimy water
    Think only this of me
    that once in phosgene-laden air
    I cradled in my arms a man who coughed up bloody lungs
    whilst his sightless brother crawled and wept beside us
    That there’s some corner of a foreign field
    where stretcher bearers duck and weave
    to save unnumbered lives who end up dying just the same
    or die themselves in razored hail
    and where a bugle laments the Last Post
    at a gate on the Menin Road
    That is forever England

    • 0 ReviewsWrite your review
      In fields of green young men sing
      Of roses red and blossoms fresh
      Love and life and ethereal themes
      To be pondered upon and etched
      Upon the brow, and in the fiddle
      And in the trees, and in the trestle
      On the boughs in the thistle
      In the thickets and in the fields
      Oh the love! Oh the ideals!

      The first bullet brings the lust
      Of the battle and the zest
      Guns and glory and mortal themes
      To live and die upon and etched
      Upon the fields and in the scenes
      In the skies and on the hills
      In the thickets and in the fields
      Oh the love! Oh the ideals!

      The second bullet refreshes the dream
      Of the battle and the test
      Cuts through the veils and acrid screams
      To die and suffer upon the breast
      And the mind and in the soul
      In the heart and in the cold
      In the out and all alone
      Oh the dread! Oh this fate!

      The next five bullets are felt not once
      And bring no more than a moment’s pause
      For guns and glory and mortal themes
      To live and die upon and etched
      Upon the graves and in the books
      In the fields and in the nooks
      In the rivers and in the brooks

      In fields of red young men moan
      Of ruptured lung and rotting flesh
      Hate and death and frightful themes
      To be stamped upon and etched
      Upon the marches of their pride
      And in their spirits and in their minds
      And in their souls and to their brides
      Oh dreaded war! Forever blind!

  6. A Season for Soldiering

    I remember Spring
    the birdswing brush of sun and rain like kisses
    but that was before
    before the world burned down
    and friends were torn apart
    or drowned in mud for ‘King and Country’
    in the graveyard gloom we wait
    gross parodies of spring defile the dawn
    woodpeckers foraging the lives of men in no-man’s-land
    a fox’s cough of mortars
    the bittern boom of howitzers behind the line
    in waking dreams I see
    the glint of emeralds scattered in the umber slime
    the distant images of trees amongst
    the burned and blackened skeletons
    silvery streams threading the foetid stinking pools
    along the twisted trenches the whistles blow
    and in grief’s despair I hang myself
    a ragged gibbering scarecrow
    upon the dancing wire

  7. Hall of Memory

    We barely dared to raise our eyes and spoke in lowly tones
    For in this sacred space here lies an unknown soldiers bones
    An other worldly presence bides within these sandstone walls
    That whispers of a distant time where misadventure calls

    A squandered generation lost in history washed with red
    When he and many like him once on poppy fields they tread
    What may have been, unrealized, this world then left behind
    Are now an unseen gathering, assembled ‘round this shrine

    And of their decimation in the war to end all wars
    Are we who are descended here reflecting on their cause.
    And ruminating old ideals and weighing up their worth
    Against the price of shining stars now dust upon the earth

    But in the holy silence here a whisper heard again
    Of those who rest in lasting peace for which they paid back then
    May thoughts of them be only blessed here in this hallowed room
    Their memory etched forever ‘round an unknown soldier’s tomb

    I would like to resubmit the poem I posted 2 days ago. I wrote that version a year ago but upon posting it here I decided it needed some editing and some turbo supercharging and thus the poem has evolved somewhat in these last two days. I think this version expresses better what I want to convey.

  8. The Unknown Soldier’s Tomb
    (Hall of Memory)

    Written by Patrick Long

    We barely dared to raise our eyes and spoke in lowly tones
    For in this sacred space here lies an unknown soldiers bones
    An other worldly presence bides within these sandstone walls
    And whispers from a distant time where misadventure calls

    A squandered generation lost in history stained with red
    When he and many like him once on poppy fields they tread
    What may have been, unrealized, this world then left behind
    Are now an unseen gathering, assembled ‘round this shrine

    And of their decimation in the war to end all wars
    Are we who are descended here reflecting on their cause.
    Their memory is forever etched within this hallowed room
    Around this marble relic called the unknown soldiers tomb

    Writer’s background: My name is Patrick Long from South East Queensland in Australia. Years ago I was a keen amateur songwriter. In this period I won or placed in a number of song writing competitions with a variety of my own compositions. A few years ago I started writing poetry as a creative outlet. War poetry is not my usual style however a visit to the Hall of Memory which houses the unknown soldier’s tomb at the Australian War Memorial impacted me profoundly. Both of my grandfathers had fought in France in WW1 and my maternal grandfather had lost his brother at Gallipoli when he was only 23. My own son was about this age at the time of my visit to the AWM and my mind could not help but to join all of these fragments as I reflected in front of the shrine. I wrote this poem about a year ago to express how I had been feeling during my visit to the war memorial.

  9. I am the Unknown Soldier, found dying in the mire
    broken, bleeding, lying freezing, heavily under fire,
    half bare from blast and wire, no tags upon my chest,
    no gun in hand, no more to give, I await the Lords behest,
    Comrades dead and dying, lie aside of me
    Lord have pity on us all, for we heed not man nor thee,
    the blood runs as a river, a scarlet bed of red,
    through the trench it flows around, the bodies of our dead,
    Honour , Duty, Bravery, fine words, as they were used,
    to lead us into battle, where blood and mud were fused.
    our sacrifice is honoured, for freedom is the right,
    remember me and all the men, who fought their bravest fight.

  10. I was a young Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1990 when I took my troop to Saudi Arabia to join the coalition forces in the liberation of Kuwait – the First Gulf War. We were ready for many things, but I was not prepared when it came to writing my last letter home…

    Dear Mum and Dad…

    (It’s hard; what do I say?
    ‘Dear Mum and Dad, I’m off to war today’?
    What do they want to hear, just days after I have died?
    That I love them? That I miss them? That I’m bloody petrified?

    The war draws near; we know it in our hearts
    That very soon just one of us shan’t wave when he departs.
    And maybe more shall tread that path till silence reigns again,
    While back at home mothers cry for their heroic men.

    I look around and all I see are faces trying to smile,
    All well aware that the time will come of judgement and of trial.
    There’ll be sweat, there’ll be blood, and undoubtedly there’ll be tears.
    Is this not what we’ve trained for all these many years?

    Is this not Life, as a soldier’s meant to see it?
    Death. Despair. Destruction – all ended by a bullet?
    Is this not what they say war is meant to be?
    Yet how can I face up to Death? How can my family?)

    Dear Mum and Dad…

    (I know now what this letter’s for.
    Of course you wouldn’t see it till after that knock on the door.
    It’s for Life; it’s for Love; it’s for Eternal Rest.)

    Dear Mum and Dad,
    I tried.
    God bless x

    Lt P J F Daniell RE
    Northern Saudi Arabia, February 1991

    • Very moving Peter; your Troop were very fortunate indeed to have such a leader, who was aware of both the reality and consequence of the liberation effort. God Bless, Richard RE

  11. I want to run
    But I can’t walk
    I want to speak
    But I can’t even talk
    I have lost my pride
    I need to hide
    I want to move
    But the pain is so bad
    Afraid to sleep
    Afraid to dream
    Afraid to remember
    Where I have been
    Listen to the silence?
    Reflection once violent
    My body is swollen
    My hair is falling out
    My bones are crying
    Inside I shout
    I shield my mind
    For I’m not blind
    Deplore the waste
    So vile to taste
    The stench of sacrifice!!

  12. 09 December 2016

    We hang on to life like Flanders lost

    We are the forgotten yet we paid a higher cost
    Like ghosts we walk the streets at dead of night
    We shake we clasp to subdue ones fright
    No sleep to hide away our darkest duress
    “wasn’t you yourself that created all this mess”
    How many times to listen to the brave
    Who have told me “go prepare your own grave”
    While they shared wine and fortuitous time
    Why i sang my own requiem in mud and slime
    Don’t look down on me i passed my test
    For i am soldier the best that are left
    Left to walk the void of haunted shadows past
    The good die hard the lesser left till the very last….T.E

    Sent from Windows Mail

    • Go to sleep dreaming
      Wake up screaming
      Torment beyond belief
      Awake in stark relief
      Wasteland sacrifice
      Of so much life
      The ground that shook
      Afraid to look
      Curse that R.P.G
      At least it’s not me
      You dare not breath
      Or feel to grieve
      The lost the Hero
      Me the Zero
      The sleepless nights
      Still I fight
      Tired always awake
      The ground still shakes
      I count the cost
      All is Lost
      Without understanding
      This is my Dream

  13. Veil of Warfare (To Aleppo)

    Leap to the future and history books will talk of you
    Exactly like they talk about wars now.
    Your horrors will transmute into heritage sites.
    Your wrecked stones will trap stories forever.
    Stories – full of innocence, bloodshed and doleful tears.
    You’ll speak firmly but your insides will clench
    Because your heart has skipped beats
    At every sound explosion on your barren chest.


    I wish I could stand by you.
    And by the little girl who struggles to rub the dust
    Off her eyes shedding tears of blood,
    In an effort to see clearly
    The living nightmare she is a part of.
    Her hand swaddles around her mother’s like vines along a pole,
    Her only hope to bloom in life.

    And also by the man who leaves obscure footprints as he runs as far as he can,
    Skipping shrapnels lodged in stomachs,
    Blurred visions of thick black smoke shrouding mangled heaps
    And sounds that anyway don’t matter to smashed eardrums.

    I’m incapable of personifications that can
    Give horror and misery its true face
    Under the veil of warfare.
    A face seen in Jallianwala in ’19, in Leningrad in ’42, in Soweto in ’76, in Jenin in ’02, and in Aleppo still.
    The face that evolves with visions of bandoleers and Kalashnikov,
    Cities of ruin and rivers of refugees.

    We lie amidst beats of music,
    While no sound save sporadic gunfire is your tune dirge of eternity.
    The rush of bodies is not rare to us,
    While you see scattered shoes left about by fleeing feet.
    We record, and stream and shout and scream
    The movements on your expanse,
    While you slowly wince,
    And mumble
    In broken syllables –
    A resistant


    No time to think
    to have a peaceful thought
    here in the jungle
    surrounded by enemy fire
    we slog through knee-deep mud
    and sweat the boiling sun out
    through our ragged shirts
    mosquitoes harass us
    feeding off blood that is everywhere
    my eye is gone
    my hearing shot
    a shell fell a little too close
    I told my buddy
    looks like I won’t live to see age 21

    Men carried in litters
    pass by us
    I see men dying day in day out
    my cousin killed just yesterday
    he’ll never see home again
    what to tell his folks
    I never saw him
    before he died

    I carry my rifle like another arm
    the only friend I have left
    I fire every chance I get
    it’s all that I can do anymore
    it’s kill or be killed

    I have seen too much
    the stories I could tell
    but I cannot speak of such savagery
    there is no honor in losing
    but there is no joy in winning

    all brave men end up dead
    what end comes to the living
    what’s left once you’ve seen
    the hell of war

    I ask God’s mercy
    and wonder why
    I’m still alive.


    Today’s the day for all of us
    To stop to think and show
    The deep respect that we must
    Have for friend and foe
    The one’s who stood, fought and died
    And bravely faced the other side
    Defending what they thought was right
    Protecting us with all their might
    In foreign lands,air, and seas
    They did it all for you and me 
    So we can live the way we do
    Safe and free – both me and you
    The dead, the wounded, all the pain
    They saw it time and time again
    And from the sky, the terror fell
    To those below, it felt like hell
    The heroes fought both night and day
    Some we lost along the way
    But all of those who fought and lost
    And all of those who won
    Both sides heroes paid the cost
    In God’s eyes,  they are one

    (thoughts on a text message from Iraq)

    “I thought I should tell you I killed a man today
    It was my first time and it made me think
    He was armed and dangerous at 50 meters
    Two ‘taps’ in the head is all it took”

    This son who I have brought up
    Through childhood to manhood in love and good intent
    And now cold and hard with steely eye and trigger finger
    Has snuffed that being, that life, that terrorist

    Somehow the news will filter back.
    Regardless of his understanding or support for Jihad,
    Or acclaimed rewards in paradise for those who die for the Prophet
    A father will shed a tear and bleakly stare for the loss of a dear son

    To kill for ones country is a duty of old
    And young men have always come forward with a will
    But we owe them at least our certainty of aim
    To be bound by our ‘god’, our good and the law

    We accept the high stakes and risks as our leaders wage war
    We fathers stand behind our sons and watch their backs
    So have confidence my boy as you play the lethal game
    But come home chastened and alive to the terrible power you have learned

    Oct 2005

    • The Horsemen of Morning

      My desperate sleep is riven
      with the sound of guns
      the thunder of feet on duckboards
      the screams of the wounded
      I shout my orders to
      the living dead
      feel the slosh of mud
      around my boots
      run ducking and weaving
      through the tortured landscape
      the dugout is a prison
      from which there is no escape
      except through welcome death
      dawn brings no relief
      foul smokes coil and writhe down the twisting trench
      stirring the stench of decay
      statues still as death
      await the summoning whistles
      and a chill wind stirs the waiting drifts of poppies

  17. Two Poems on Warmongering (II): The Only Thing Necessary


    The day will come when everyone is asked:

    “What did you do

    To prevent the shedding of the blood of your brother and sister

    And mother and father

    And friend?”

    And on that day

    There will be downcast faces

    And quivering lips that dare not fearful cast

    The merest footfall of remorse


    Originally published on Neocon Surveillance (Peace Criminals Project).

  18. Two Poems on Warmongering (I): When Good Men Say Nothing


    The prisoner interrogated



    “Why did you slay your brother and your sister?”

    And the prisoner raised his eyes

    And wept

    And there was silence in Heaven for the space of seven hours.

    “I did not mean to slay them.

    I merely held my peace

    Because I feared that to cry aloud

    Would provoke the villains further

    And I had no means to shield my beloved ones

    But this feeble voice

    And nothing more than this.”

    The stern-faced Judge soared beyond the heights

    The coward fell.

    “So do you see? Even his own lying mouth condemns him.”


    Originally published on Neocon Surveillance (Peace Criminals Project).

  19. Some more poetry on the First World War

    A Soldier’s Thought.

    Oh faceless men far from the line
    you played your game of chess,
    on the battleground of Europe –
    using us, as pawns, no less!

    We found upon these foreign fields
    the gateway into hell,
    where the mutilated landscape
    proved an enemy as well.

    At Marne, the Somme and Passchendaele
    amid the gore and stench,
    men fought to gain advantage
    just to dig another trench.

    There was no winner in this war-
    death did not choose a side
    and we culled a generation
    in the millions who died.

    Lost, lost except in grieving heart
    no trace of some to claim,
    now just a fading memory
    held in a photo frame.

    From rural hamlet, to the town
    within the city too,
    the Reaper took the bloom of youth
    for his infernal due.

    And all the while you plotted
    as you ate and sipped your tea,
    from the safety of headquarters -
    not in mud alongside me!

    Oh faceless men far from the line
    I hold you all to blame,
    for the widows and the orphans
    that resulted from your game!

    Christopher J S Addē 2007

    English Country Churchyard

    This English country churchyard
    In whose quiet I now lie
    Is far removed from where I fought
    And lost my arm and eye
    Twisted by the bullets as they spat
    From every gun
    I fell in to a shell-hole
    Where there lay a wounded Hun.

    Two men, exhausted, hurt, and weak
    With death to contemplate
    Looked hard at one another
    Yet without a trace of hate
    Poor Hun had been a day or three
    Laid in the stinking mire -
    A bullet lodged within his chest
    From taking British fire

    He could not speak, no more could I,
    Marooned in No-Mans land
    We were each others equal
    And he reached out for my hand
    It was, as if, he’d clung to life
    So not to pass alone
    Then clasping tight he smiled and died
    To leave me on my own.

    I, with luck, was rescued
    Living on for ten more years
    Though my sleep at night was fitful
    As I faced my wartime fears
    At length my wounds proved fatal
    And at thirty life was done
    But as I slipped, I saw outstretched
    The hand from that old Hun.

    My battles now are different -
    Fighting briars that have grown
    And the creeping lichen legions
    That advance upon my stone
    I did not have my children
    Nor the chance to seek out fame
    But this English country churchyard
    Lets me keep alive my name.

    Christopher J S Addè. Aug 2006

  20. I am 95 years’ old and felt that the women who also made sacrifices during the First World War are insufficiently commemorated. This poem reflects memories from my childhood and is a tribute to the women left behind with broken lives….


    Scarcely anyone commemorates a lost generation of women
    Spawned by “the war to end all wars”,
    But they are woven into the fabric of history
    As indelibly as the Remembrance Day ceremonies.
    There are many poems describing the sacrifices of the men,
    Those dead soldiers, sailors and airmen
    Who would have been their husbands,
    And the unborn children who left them barren.
    All my childhood was threaded with spinster aunts.

    I see them at tea in my mother’s drawing room,
    When summoned from the nursery to greet them,
    Elegant plates of cake perched daintily on their knees,
    Sitting there in their best clothes,
    With small-talk on their lips, and intimidating hats.
    I sensed a disparity between them and my mother
    but could not define its origin nor pin it down,
    Yet I knew that something was wrong
    And that they were in some way incongruous.

    There were so many of them too;
    In my close family I can recall at least ten pairs of sisters
    Striving to connect with unnaturally subdued children,
    All of them “aunts” whether they really were or not.
    Somehow to me they seemed pathetic and inadequate
    With their fragile relevance honed for a special occasion.
    They were untrained except in household skills,
    And some of them lived in shabby gentility,
    Presenting careworn faces to a heedless nation.

    I realise painfully now that they were indeed a lost generation of women
    Who figuratively died like the men they would have married,
    And whose incomplete lives were borne with uncomplaining fortitude
    Because there was no alternative in a wounded and unbalanced world.

    Valerie Simmons – August 2014. (c)

    Valerie Simmons,
    Aged 95 years,


    Coal black legs, like burnt reeds
    Mirrored in the lake below
    Moss-green feet
    Shining feathers of pressed snow
    And a slender beak to probe the mud
    Your wings outstretched, un-flapping
    Despite the carnage which surrounds you
    Sharing only proof that beauty yet endures


    Fragrant, yes; and strangely so
    The memories
    Of sand and the banal fight
    I thought had made me a man
    Yet here I sit
    Bewildered as a boy
    Did my fingers do such work
    Pressing as they did
    That curved steel
    To send forth copper, lead and death
    Did I do such a thing?
    And the other indiscretions
    Have I been
    In other words –
    A hypocrite and worse?
    The weight like a millstone ‘round my neck
    The precious neck I guard yet against the final cut
    And I remember
    Looking up from beneath the water
    Toward my savior
    Today I cannot remember his face.
    Can a man forgive himself for being a boy?
    Homo, ecco homo.
    What sad fate, to be born so blessed and free.
    To sin.
    How beautiful and terrible.
    To survive.
    “Ich bin in solchen Dingen nicht unbedingt geschickt”.

  23. Sunrise

    Blood stained skies at sunrise
    Bleeding wounded daylight
    Over dread wept in the ditches
    Shattered flesh and bones lie obscene
    In uncovered graves of mud and water.

    Denatured men, macerated in metal
    Shell-shocked and smoking
    Limbs and reason leeching
    like dysentery into the mire
    on rancid rations of fear and duty

    Speechless with one silent prayer
    Count every quiet living second
    For they too are conscripted
    And will die in hideous crescendo.
    Pray there will be a sunrise tomorrow

  24. I’m a U.S. Army veteran (1983 – 1989). I’m a paratrooper who served in the 2/75th (Ranger Battalion) as well as the 1/508th RCT & 3/505th PIR of the 82nd Airborne Division. I was 19 when I parachuted into Grenada – after graduating from R.I.P. & having been in my unit for all of 10 days… I wrote this poem 10 years ago (2005) but I’ve been having this nightmare for 25. Dulce et decorum est, y’all.


    Rotting face of a long dead comrade
    smelling of sweat,cordite, piss & shit
    Wearing a devil’s grin sick with sin
    Skeletal fingers pluck and offer me
    Gobbets of dripping, decayed flesh
    Sepulchral voice intones “Take, eat -
    This is my body, broken for you.”

    Coppery smell of blood splashed &
    Running from the knife in my hands
    Terrified eyes in a corpse-white teenage face
    Looking into mine as I hold him close
    In a sick parody of a lover’s embrace
    Choking wheezing bubbly
    Whisper tells me “Take, drink -
    This is my blood shed by you.”

    I wake up, covered in sweat with
    My throat raw from screaming…
    But the nightmare never ends.

  25. I have always found the poetry of the First World War so moving. Wilfred Owen, John McCrae and others wrote such memorable words.

    • As I Survey The Battlefield

      Oh brave and foolish youth,
      you listened to the story
      that the war was hunky-dory
      and you’d bathe yourself in glory.

      Oh brave and foolish youth,
      swept up by pure emotive tide
      heads filled with patriotic pride
      now dead across the countryside.

      Oh brave and foolish youth,
      mere sheep led to the line of fire
      draped like washing on barbed wire
      or sucked down in the boggy mire.

      Oh brave and foolish youth,
      you trusted and believed the lie
      without a thought that you might die -
      explain this as your mothers cry,
      oh brave and foolish youth.

      Christopher J S Addè Sept 2009

      At War’s End

      I did not die upon the field,
      not hung on wire, shot full of holes.
      Nor torn apart by blast of bomb
      or drowned in mud like some poor souls.
      No bayonet had found its mark,
      my life was spared the snipers gun
      and I survived, by miracle
      the carnage wrought upon Verdun.

      Yet I am dead, for inside me
      there lies a man I do not know -
      long gone the youth of innocence
      that worked the farm with plough and hoe.
      These eyes may look, but do not see
      beyond the archive of the mind
      whose haunted corridors contain
      the guilt and horrors of mankind.

      Mon ami, oh, mon ami
      the war is won, but I’m not free!

      Christopher J.S. Addè Oct 2009

  26. I was moved to write this poem after a trip to Belgium in 2011

    In Flanders field we stood today
    A sight to see that’s true to say
    It was not right, your were to young
    To be sent to war and in battle flung
    You had no choice, no doubt was cast
    You followed orders, no questions asked
    You fought so hard, you were so brave
    And with your life you finally paid
    We will never know the horror you saw
    The death, the suffering of this great war
    You died so we could all be free
    Such a different life for you and me
    You lie in Tyne Cot with it’s scribed walls
    Millions come to thank you all
    So for now and evermore we are in your debt
    We will always remember and never forget

    • This poem was originally composed in Bengali which I later translated in English.

      War Is Life
      by Sayeed Abubakar

      I can go to war with those this very day
      who are against hunger,
      who are against death
      and who take arms against the invaders.

      Boars are destroying all the crops of life
      entering the fields of civilization;
      jackals are devouring the corpses of our kith and kin
      digging their graves;

      vultures are singing the rotten withered songs of democracy
      clutching the map of our heart;
      leaving my home for ever, I can go away with those
      who are against these boars,
      who are against these jackals and vultures
      and who draw irritated hands
      against their aggressive hands.

      Now my heart cries
      saying war war. Saying war war,
      my heart bursts into anger
      like an atom bomb.

      Life is nothing but war,
      and living without war means mere death.
      The river whose course is serpentine
      is the most beautiful of all.

  27. They Never Went To War

    They never went to war; they stayed at home
    The young, the old, the unwell and the dead
    The women who were not allowed to roam
    The men who tilled the fields and baked the bread
    Those sat in darkness waiting for the rap
    Of letterbox, and soft white feather fall
    The silence broken by a dripping tap
    Dark shadows cast by street lamps on the wall
    The little lads who ran behind the train
    That took their fathers off to certain death
    Who waved until their arms ached in the rain
    Who ran until their lungs ran out of breath
    Old men who yearned for youth; just one more chance
    To feel the blood flow, hear the battle cry
    To wear the uniform and take a stance
    To stand with other men, to fight and die
    The crippled and the mad, the deaf, the blind
    Escaped the fate of many thousand men
    Some angry that they had been left behind
    Some thankful that they’d never fight again
    Women, who with their sleeves rolled ploughed the land
    Lit candles, raised the children, hid their tears
    Made ammunitions with a careful hand
    Kept watch and saved the night time for their fears
    So many stayed at home, and stayed alive
    And suffered pain and loss, regret and guilt
    That they were left, that they were to survive
    Within the house such sacrifice had built
    Their many names are not inscribed on stone
    Those sorrowed souls, so haunted by war’s ghost
    Were left to stand and mourn the dead alone
    Listening to the trumpet sound the post

    © Gail Foster 2015

  28. Recently, I didn’t give a lot of consideration to leaving comments on weblog page posts and also have placed responses even a lot much less.

  29. ‘Northern Ireland was never, officially, a ‘war’. However, to those who were involved, and especially those who lost someone, it was. Many still suffer the concequences.
    This is a poem about one, small incident.

    The writer served 22 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers.

    Running Down The Strand in 1976.

    ‘Twas Christmas time in ‘Derry town
    The season of good will.
    When normal folks went shopping
    And the baddies came to kill.

    They hid their nasty firebombs
    With timers crudely set
    As if more killing might ensure
    Their demands would be met.

    Headquarters called to warn us,
    ‘Get people off the street!’
    Our task: to clear the Strand Road
    And start from Clarendon Street

    My buddies ran beside me
    You’d think us bulletproof
    For we knew there could be gunmen
    Who’d be sniping from the roof.

    Civilians ran before us
    We herded them like sheep.
    We had to get them out there
    For now all life was cheap.

    Shop windows blew out left and right
    All smoke and flying glass
    I prayed the next explosion would
    Please wait ‘til we had passed

    We pushed them; screaming, shouting.
    Our faces could not show
    How bloody scared we were inside,
    But none of them could know.

    Even then some parents turned on us;
    Spat, “Leave our kids alone!
    We’ll never ask for English help.
    F##k off. Leave us alone!”

    But still we got them to the end.
    Thank god no lives were lost.
    But many shops (and jobs) went up
    In this home grown holocaust.

    And now, ‘though many years have passed
    There’s one thing stays the same.
    If it was ever church or politics then,
    The criminals remain!

    And still they kill and torture
    Their neighbours ‘cross the street.
    But justice comes to all of them,
    When their Makers they do meet.

    A Guard of Honour waits for them,
    Of innocents and Troops,
    To bar the way to the Pearly Gates.
    As they take the downward route!

  30. The writer served 22 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers and left long before the Afganistan War reared its ugly head. ‘The Last Patrol’ was written in rememberence of the fallen and all those who served in that conflict.

    The Last Patrol

    White faced, we left the base, time for one last look around.
    But insurgents knew, as they do, wasn’t long ‘til we are found.
    Soon we take a frag grenade then RPG’s were inward bound.
    Men are falling, corporals calling. Need to cross that open ground.

    Legs pumping, hearts thumping, have to reach the next compound.
    Gunships flying, Taliban crying, multiple rockets all hellhound.
    Mortars popping, more men dropping, body parts are all around.
    Bodies flying, people dying, screaming wounded; terrible sounds.

    Then cross a ditch, where life’s a bitch, it’s hand to hand; the victor crowned.
    More men bleeding, wounded pleading, thank God none make English sounds.
    Then we see escapees flee; running, scampering, scared foxhounds.
    But life’s unfair; we call in air and bomb them where they’ve run to ground.

    We count our men, a quick amen, no time for speeches; too profound.
    So it’s sort our heads as we count their dead, and get our wounded safety bound.
    But soon we hear what soldiers fear, mortar shells are inward-bound.
    The leaders shout, “Move on out, this is no longer our playground”.

    We dash out fast, before the first blast, and none of us earns a Reaper Shroud.
    Then when we ask, for our next task, HQ has us all spellbound.
    For all you hear, is one great cheer, even now the echoes still resound.
    “Get back to base, and pack your case, your job is done, you’re homeward-bound!”

    “Tour over!”

  31. My experiences living in Yemen in 2014 during the fall of the government.

    My heart is not a foreign battlefield
    Tossing bodies across imaginary lines
    My heart beat rises and falls with the Yemeni sun
    My breath catches on the final exhale of that soldier
    My eyes look for ancient cities and my tears fall
    With buildings as they disappear into the dust they came from
    My hands hold the mother, who holds the child, who held hope
    In the tiny palms of his tiny hands
    My feet walk the directions they first walked when they opened their eyes and called this place Felix
    My happiness rests on the chest of this country
    As She heaves great sighs of despair
    Rising and falling
    Slower now
    Slowly and slower
    But She doesn’t stop
    And every time I breath I remember how she
    Promised to never draw a last
    How they walked those streets on sunny days
    When it rained bullets from the sky they looked up and said
    You can’t stop us
    How they never stopped
    And when rain washed away the blood of the streets
    They remembered
    When the world couldn’t see
    They saw
    Men shaking hands with bombs and guns and they said
    Not my country
    When their leaders asked for money in exchange for human lives
    They asked for Change to help humans Live
    These are not news reports
    They are everyday
    They are dreams
    This is the legacy of a country at

  32. Armed Forces Covenant

    Sit awhile upon a village green,
    Below the shadowing boughs of centuries old English oak.
    And dream of England’s glorious awakening,
    Of wind swept shores and hill-top misted cloak.

    Give thought to a land born of blood and battle,
    Striving to be free.
    Of galleons and iron-ships,
    Masters of the sea.

    Dream of what life was like,
    Through this island’s torrid years once past.
    At the dawn of its expansion,
    And as abolitionist’s raged…., avast!

    Hawthorn hedge-rowed flowering meadows,
    Those pleasant fields of green.
    Cottage garden blooms,
    An insect’s nectarous dream.

    But also….alas,

    Consumption raged unchecked,
    Through septic lungs of kith and kin.
    Many young men’s melancholy minds,
    Subdued further by cannon’s din.

    When the pox made even landed Gentry,
    Really rather mad.
    A farthing for a quart of ale,
    Was thought mostly not half bad.

    The best days out?
    Gory public hanging.
    Hurrah! Nowt better!
    Three cheers for corpses dangling.

    A United Kingdom…..,

    Of eighteenth century merging,
    An entwine born of entente signed.
    The Union flag to rally round,
    For all one Sovereign’s like minded kind.


    Wounded soldiers graced the grimy walkways,
    Hoping for charity and handout,
    For sacrifice and service in far off foreign lands.

    And now……..?

    Honour The Armed Forces Covenant….,
    Or Be Damned.


    • Arriving at the Field Hospital 2012 by David Kerridge
      Rifleman take off your pack, rest down on your back.
      Nurse the battle slash, away from rifle flash.
      Kingsman rest awhile, put your weapons in a pile.
      You stare so far away, on clean sheets you may lay.
      Ghurkha soldier brave, now energy you must save.
      Sleep here well tonight, far from battle fight.
      Trooper now be brave, your friend you did save.
      Bones that battle broke, pride tearful choke.
      Hospital safe and clean, takes away the nightmare scene.
      Hospital keep you safe tonight and send you on your homeward flight.
      By David Kerridge 2012
      copyright DJMK 2012

  33. Goose Green 28/29 May 1982
    Was it Worth it?

    No Screams of Glee, Nor laughter Here.
    Where can all the children be?
    In the playground…?
    Not that I can see.
    They are,
    Locked up!
    Under the floorboards…
    hiding from shells-fired.
    Can’t go home,
    rancid -
    Gaucho shit…
    booby-trap wired.
    The playground off limits,
    no push on a swing.
    Nor shoot down the slide,
    Where rockets still sing.
    Leaky napalm – stacks,
    blasted howitzer-packs,
    ground role anti… ack-acks.
    Innocent young eyes-wide….
    through -
    cobwebbed cracks.
    Not long to wait,
    as…winged warriors,
    bang loudly…
    on terror’s gate.
    And in the playground,
    a final infamy.
    Stood a slide mounted rocket pod…
    a symbol of tyranny,
    and a harrier circled…..just before dusk.
    For a time, the most dangerous playground on the planet….


  34. Up the Sussex!

    Last light…
    fifth night,
    on a mountain -
    blasted; windswept…
    a drowned land of -
    bouldered; sheep shorn -
    barren peat.
    A soldiers lot…
    blistered; sodden feet.
    Trench foot rife -
    rotting flesh;
    frostbite by the dawn.
    What they say…
    if we stay,
    immersed -
    the battalion will decay.
    The battalion finally got
    the order to move
    and it was the beginning
    of the end for the invaders.

    Some time after 21st May 1982
    paratroopers dug in Sussex Mount..

  35. The Door to War
    Know this son,
    once you step through this door…
    your life will change for ever,
    it’s just the nature of -
    total war.
    Oft’ on a whim,
    you will live or die…
    to wither by enemy,
    fire from ground spray…
    or bombed from the sky.
    Some will never return,
    others maimed…
    in body or mind,
    a few rightly honoured…
    others wrongly blamed.
    For your friends,
    give it your all…
    it’s the soldiers way,
    together you fight…
    when the whistles call!
    Whatever happens son,
    cover your mates…
    as they will you,
    right up to the…
    Valhalla gates…
    Your Queen and Country,
    won’t watch your back…
    the men in Whitehall,
    don’t know you…
    from Jack.

    Waiting to board landing Craft through side door of MV Norland in San Carlos Water.

  36. Wireless Ridge…….view of Port Stanley 13/14 June 1982

    Do they know there’s a war going on?
    Lamps bright, welcoming
    An English resort lit for fun and frolic
    Surreal, hypnotic -false
    BBQ on the shore?
    Mined beach
    Within child’s reach
    A dead soldier points the way
    Long ago
    Yet, just like the other day
    Were you there?
    A part of me never left…..

    Original 1982

  37. An Ultimate Stamina Test

    Back and forth
    South then North.
    East then West
    A stamina test.
    Dodge the blast
    Shrapnel – past.
    Carry the ammo
    For a battles flow.
    Wounded and slain
    Morphine the pain.
    Mines…what mines?
    What you’re not told
    Makes you more bold.
    Freezing snow flurries
    Beyond our worries.
    A night for do,
    or be damned.
    Stretchered out…
    Save a man’s life
    Send him home to his
    mum or his


    Friend or foe…..wounded, we carried them…
    13/14th June 1982, Falklands War

  38. Through the Smoke: Liberation

    For the second time in
    17 days we spied liberation.
    Through battle’s smoke,
    death and desperation.
    Came an eerie solitude,
    no glee nor grief.
    Just a tiredness,
    hallucinations; disbelief.
    a church service
    time to reflect; grieve,
    laugh at padre’s wit.
    Think of home,
    quietly sit.

    Men at war is all…


    After 14th June 1982, Port Stanley

  39. At sixteen we joined the Regiment
    At seventeen we were awarded our wings
    At eighteen we honed our skills
    At nineteen we old sweats…..Now airborne kings.

    We thought we were……. Utrinque Paratus.

    Meant To Be

    On that reverse slope
    ‘Twas safe as safe can be
    Ne’er a shell lobbed aloft
    Should ever land on me.

    Hunkered down and suckin sod
    Bent antenna double
    Stick your head above that ridge
    And boy you were in for trouble.

    Peat and muck erupted
    They surely took the piss
    That wasn’t in the script
    So close- yet still a miss.

    Oi! I’m on the reverse slope
    It should be safe as safe can be
    Sod off and lob your shells
    On the slope they’re meant to be.

    My friend was on that forward slope
    It was as hellish and more…. as it can be
    All the shell lobbed aloft
    Did explode right on top of He.

    He died a hero on that slope
    He died fighting for his mates
    On down that forward slope
    Blasted through Valhalla gates.

    Fix bayonets! Over the top!
    A First World War throw of the dice
    My friend and brother aged just nineteen
    Who gave the ultimate sacrifice…
    His life…

    Forgive me for taking so long to grieve.

    Dedicated to a friend and brother in arms
    The Class of 1982 Forever Young
    © Dave Kit Brown 2014 (First edition 1982, second edition 2014)

  40. An Island Tour

    Never saw
    A sheep
    Never saw a
    No wildlife
    To observe
    Dead or alive.
    Only saw
    And them
    Fighting over
    Windswept archipelago
    The Southern Cross.
    An Island Tour
    An Island at War

    Copyright DKB 2014

    Falklands War 1982

  41. Blue Beach II

    Egg banjos to go
    Killers bent double with weight,
    Ride of the Valkyries
    In a deadly heightened state.
    No moon Nor stars
    To hide away deadly faces,
    An ocean of deceit
    Oh the grief
    At their disgraces.
    Grotesque hordes
    Bloods up
    Ramp Down
    Troops Out!
    Not bloody likely
    “Go!” Is the shout.
    Forth to war!
    The water
    Bollock freezing
    Poor Tommy can’t touch the floor.
    With balls in their throats
    They wade ashore,
    The Glorious Two
    Right at the fore.
    Up the beach
    After the San Carlos merry go round,
    One foot forward two feet down
    O’er Tussock Pot-holed ground.
    Up the Sussex!
    They come to liberate,
    They dig and toil
    Trench feet
    A winter’s chill to invigorate.
    Hurry up and wait for orders
    Waiting for the boss
    To State,
    After tea and hard Tac
    Para’s strain at battle’s gate.
    “Up and at ‘em!” The Colonel shouts
    They tab, no winged horse to ride
    Into the melee,
    Ready for anything
    All to one end
    For brothers in arms
    Who wear the Red Beret.

    © Dave Kit Brown – (First edition 1982)

    Not forgotten and forever young the Class of 1982.

  42. If Only…Only If

    If only
    Only if
    Two words
    Either way
    They seem
    The same.

    If only
    We’d known
    Only if
    We’d said
    If only
    We were
    Only if
    We weep
    If only
    He’d move
    Only if
    We’d listened
    If only
    The dark
    Only if
    He’s dead
    If only
    No dawn
    Only if
    No forlorn
    If only
    There’s hope.

    No more
    If only
    No more
    Only ifs
    Do remember
    Those past
    Do embrace
    Those Present
    Do welcome
    Those coming
    Live life
    For you
    And them
    Ad Unum Omnes.

    The Class of 1982 Forever Young
    © Dave Kit Brown 2014
    “If only” plagued me for many a year………..

  43. Vultures Gathering

    Do I look pleased to see you?
    Can you not see it in my face?
    Does not the stare give me away?
    Your cameras capture men at war.
    Shocked, cold, hungry; battle fatigued.
    On the edge; nights & day.
    Be gone!
    You scoundrels, you vultures gathering.
    Leave our bravest in their peace.
    This is no war movie, nor propaganda coup.
    This is hallowed ground, for friends;
    only we once knew.

    (Re-edited 1984 scribe)

    After the battle for Goose Green
    in the Falklands war (29th May 1982),
    A British news crew appeared while we
    were still on Darwin ridge awaiting
    orders to move forward into Goose Green.
    Post surrender of the settlement.

  44. Memorial Wood

    By his memorial tree
    They came by and beamed
    Their bright future at me.

    Those school children
    Offered a “Hi!”
    I smiled, but
    Unashamedly began to cry.

    Built up emotion
    Let forth rip
    On a long time after
    Falklands pilgrimage trip.

    From the sea
    Battling to Stanley
    Never a tear shed
    For my departed family.

    Not till this morning
    In Memorial Wood
    Meeting those school children
    I suddenly understood.

    My brothers died
    First for their mates
    But also for those children
    Behind the Stanley school gates.

    The children of the children
    From 1982
    Forget not their sacrifice
    Those friends that I knew.

    In that windswept and wild
    Southern archipelago
    A Memorial Wood stands
    Where memorial trees grow.

    © Dave Kit Brown 2010
    The memorial wood I visited in Stanley FI, 2010
    Dedicated to Brothers lost

  45. Farewell Brave Sons

    We line the decks,
    Waving above the hoot so loud.
    Go my son, go to war,
    Go and make us proud.

    The gals weep; the guys cheer,
    The atmosphere hisses and crackles.
    Go my son, go to war,
    Invaders have raised Our hackles.

    The islanders’ distress,
    We’re on a voyage to set free.
    Go my son, go to war,
    A vanguard for Queen and Country.

    This glorious adventure full of woe,
    The vast Southern ocean waits.
    Go my son, go to war,
    Valhalla is a hero’s fate.

    Stow your kit, batten the hatches,
    Force down the fish-head stew.
    Go my son, go to war,
    Hell’s outstretched arms await you.

    Eight thousand miles to sail,
    To a land with many sheep, but no tree.
    Go my son, go to war,
    Islanders call to be set free.

    The boys answer the call,
    The victory to be cheered by the nation.
    Laments to the human cost,
    Of the Falklands liberation.

    Go my son, go to war.

    © Dave Kit Brown – (First edition 1982)
    Not forgotten and forever young the Class of 1982.

  46. In the 1982 Falklands War something’s hadn’t changed much since wars past

    Sodden War Path

    Cardboard boots?
    Cardboard boots!
    You surely are dad, having a laugh?
    I kid you not son
    That’s what we wore…
    On that sodden war path.

    Trench foot?
    Trench foot!
    You surely are dad, having a laugh?
    I kid you not son
    Just like the old wars…
    On that sodden war path.

    Fix bayonets, over the top?
    Fix bayonets, over the top!
    You surely are dad, having a laugh?
    I kid you not son
    Our boys at the front…
    On that sodden war path.

    Stretcher bearers?
    Stretcher bearers!
    You surely are dad, having a laugh?
    I kid you not son
    Ammo front, wounded rear…
    On that sodden war path.

    How many casualties?
    That many casualties!
    I now see dad, you’re not having a laugh,
    The tear in your eye
    Says it all and more…
    On that sodden war path.

    The Class of 1982 Forever Young
    © Dave Kit Brown 2014 (First edition 1982, this edition 2014)

  47. About the author:
    2 PARA “Tom” during the Liberation of the Falkland Isles 1982
    From Blue Beach 2 to the surrender of the invaders in Port Stanley on June 14th 1982…..
    Thoughts and feelings; experiences of a short bloody war.

  48. Big Guns (Barrage)

    At the barrel end…
    I do not profess,
    To know much…
    About big guns -
    And their firing,
    Big bang prowess.


    I do profess,
    In battle,
    To know…
    The fear in a -
    Shell scrape (to be so lucky)
    We Tommie’s…


    No overhead cover…
    Barrage creeping,
    Peat erupting -
    Pick up your wounded


    The 105‘s,
    Be silenced…
    Before -
    The dawn of Day.

    Not quite.

    At last!
    Sanity prevailed,

    The white flags flew,
    We cheered!
    Made a Brew.


    Saddled up,
    Joined the queue…
    Often the first -
    A lovely
    Sea view.

    Under barrage May/June 1982 Falkland Islands


    The boys sleep on,
    Cold, dead as stone
    In this hellish place
    Wrath, blood let and shattered bone.

    It’s life then it’s death,
    For these brave young guns
    On this Isthmus DZ
    Calling for their mums.

    For the boys who sleep,
    Valhalla waits
    They do not stir
    Our glorious mates.

    We warm frozen feet
    Gorse, ashes of war
    Boots catching fire
    Turning blue to the core.

    Glugging grog with glee
    The foes’ fight is in vain
    The battlefield eerily silent
    Only distant echoes of pain.

    She is well pleased
    Now she can brag
    Her heroic boys from Blighty
    Can hoist the Union flag.

    No time to reflect
    Nor mutter nor grieve
    There’s more killing to do
    Maroons’ get no reprieve.

    Digging trenches in Fitzroy,
    Red warning, hawks! Sinking despair
    No time to lament
    Regroup, load scoff, prepare.

    With fierce fight and thrust
    Onto Wireless we strive
    Wingless stretcher bearers’ haste
    Keep wounded comrades alive.

    Much fizzer, bang and whizz
    Fire! On foe and friend
    Unleash the helo’ hellfire
    Observe slaughters end.

    Moody Brook, they’re streaming back
    White flag, Stanley our goal
    Time to make safe
    ‘Outta’ this fetid hole.

    We tab into history
    Airborne aggression is gone
    Now we can grieve
    For the boys who sleep on.

    2012© Dave Kit Brown – (First edition 1982)
    Not forgotten and forever young the Class of 1982.

    Liberation of the Falkland Islands 1982

  50. Bomb Alley

    Sodden vipers, our eyes narrowed to far off Water
    We listen for the hawks and the inevitable slaughter.
    Frozen in our waterlogged holes we wait
    On high ground, far from our sea comrades fate.
    Air raid warning red! A mirage; and a Skyhawk
    The fleet’s tannoys urgent fraught squawk.
    Weaving between valleys so low; Hunting their prey
    Chaff and darts fly, Survival is the order of the day.
    Bofors and Gimpies bark, Anchorage in dread
    Battalions with small arms firing hot lead.
    Ships’ company engage the hawks in mortal combat
    Sailors, civvies and pongoes; even an old sea cat.
    A hawk shakes violently within the maelstrom
    Pilot lifting, ditching a ship busting bomb.
    After-burning through the gauntlet of lead
    Milan almost caught him with its silky thread.
    Blood showers the spitting beasts below
    Flying on vapour, a watery grave is all he’ll know.
    No aerial combat, only a sidewinder knocking at his back door
    Locked on, one hundred per cent kill tally now four.
    Smoke rises eerily from the Sea and low ground
    Vessels broken, Task Force casualties all around.
    Tomorrow the hawks will return low along the valley
    Such is war, Hell at sea; the infamously named;
    Bomb Alley.

    2012© Dave Kit Brown – (First edition 1982)

    Author: Dug in above Bomb Alley on Sussex Mountain, 21st May 1982 onwards….

  51. Lost Souls

    (Written by Zeki Madjid)
    Dedicated to my first and eternal love…Aleppo, Syria.

    I know for certain…I have lived twice
    Three years ago was when my soul died
    Since then nothing has been alright
    In a battle to decide who’s wrong and who’s right
    My life ended…
    I woke up in a cold night…surrounded by a warm light
    What was left of my home…was a sad sight
    It seems like it’s all a dream
    And I must have done so much wrong, because the end I can’t see
    The pain within my soul, is hard to feel
    as i cover it all up with this smile you see…
    I dedicate this poem, to the love of my life
    Maybe one day I’ll wake up and it will all be alright
    Until that day comes, all i have is the memories inside
    of the magical peaceful Aleppo nights…
    If I had somehow seen the signs
    Perhaps I would have enjoyed every breath on my soil…
    And now when my tears gently touch this foreign ground
    My only dream is to breath with you around
    I know for certain I have lived twice…
    Because the day that you died
    Is the day I died…

  52. Eyes Never Dry
    (Written By Zeki Madjid)

    Dedicated to all the innocent young souls who lost their childhood in a war.

    Her eyes were never dry
    Since she was born she would always cry…
    No matter what kind of lie I would tell
    She would see right through me , a smile she didn’t sell…
    I don’t blame her when her lips fell…
    She knew the world was aware of our pain…
    She knew nobody cared about evils reign
    She knew nobody cared about every body that laid lifeless on the city streets…
    She knew…
    So I understand…
    In her still so young heart
    Knowledge of the world there was that no man had…
    Even though she knew it could get her killed she just couldn’t stand
    When justice wasn’t served
    When her mothers killers were free
    And we get something no human deserves…
    So I ask her please smile…
    The pain will last just for a little while…

  53. Final Call
    (Poem inspired by visiting The Poppies at the Tower of London in November 2014)

    Around the Tower, a deep red river of Poppies has taken on a life of its own.

    Each blood red flower individually and lovingly laid in its temporary resting place,

    One for every breath of life last breathed.

    And in remembrance we flock in greater numbers than Those who gave,

    That we may catch a final glimpse, before this flow of life is once again ceased.

    And when the last call has sounded and night has fallen,

    The stars of this tragedy will slowly leave,

    Taking their own piece of this lavish red carpet with Them,

    To Their final resting place,

    One by one into the hands and hearts of those who have sought to care for them.

    And we who came to pay our last respects will go about our lives touched by sharing a few moments with Them,

    Yet should we ever wonder exactly what it was they gave:
    We can walk away and, at times, forget Them.

    For once more where they have lain fresh grass will grow,

    And before long where they have lain you would not know.

    © Lizzie James
    November 2014

  54. Here I Lie
    (Poem inspired by visiting the Poppies at the Tower of London in November 2014)

    Here I lie

    From my broken skull white doves fly,

    Way, way up high to freedom in the night sky.

    And as the days, weeks, years have slipped by,

    My spilt red blood has begun to dry,

    In these fields that once throbbed with each and every painful cry,

    Of my friends and enemies as they prepared to die,

    Peace has come

    And I say


    © Lizzie James
    Nov 2014

  55. The Messenger
    By Philip W. Bartram

    We are punching holes in the night’s air
    Like the fourth of July,
    And for an instant,
    I am an elephant passing through the eye
    Of a needle.
    Nothing moves in the blood-washed light,
    But the grass huts backing into darkness
    Where the light ends.
    Beginning to feel the stiffness
    From the advancing graveyard,
    I move slowly
    Under the weight of nylon pack,
    Helmet, and day-old blood
    That life can never reclaim
    Through the unheld weapons
    Turning to air.
    I slump at the edge of the path
    And stare at the arms
    Thrust wrist-deep in the earth
    In a last effort
    To take life
    From the precious minerals.
    A woman kneels beside me
    And strokes my forehead.
    Slowly, I begin falling
    Beyond all geography,
    Beyond all walls,
    Like a lunar stone,
    Gray as horsemen,
    Gray as sleep,
    Beyond all miseries, my head
    Cradled upon her naked bosom.
    She knows, she knows
    And whispers in my ear
    The Lord’s Prayer
    That stops the fever.
    The weather rinses
    Her potato color to white.
    I love in order to be loved.
    I tell her
    She is beautiful
    And kiss the white gleam
    Of her thighs.
    She is a puppet rising
    From the depths of my desires
    Bringing me rice
    And bits of fish heads.
    It is hot
    And her cool hands
    Sooth my back.
    I am a savage
    Whose face is beard-stained
    Like charred wood
    Of the last village.
    The wind rises like a cornerstone.
    Her last coarse eyelash dissolves
    With my touch.
    I can leave nothing here.
    I can take nothing with me.
    Grass grows woven in the vacuum
    Of rib cages.
    The dead will inherit the face of the earth.

    (Bartram, P. “Messenger”. Stone Country
    Fall/Winter 1982/83. Nathan Mayhew Seminars
    Of Martha’s Vineyard, Inc.)

  56. Eyes That Penetrate Rain

    Who are you young man,
    or rather, who were you?
    Your image is faint
    in this place without paint,
    like a ghost in a ghostly place.
    Such paleness in white surroundings,
    pale but for eyes of pain,
    eyes that penetrate rain.

    This must be a dream.
    This must be a dream.
    This is a place without breath –
    a place full of death –
    a place of no color,
    pale but for eyes of pain,
    eyes that penetrate rain.

    Out of blood recoiled lips
    you speak softly of war –
    softly of the harshness of war.
    Is there an aim to this dream,
    or is the aim as aimless as war?

    Through the rain I now see,
    as white lips speak to me,
    the background
    of the violence of war;
    and the artist of death
    behind a spirit born of war,
    paints on a canvas of blood.
    His brush stained of red,
    from portraying the dead,
    washes clean from the rain in this dream.

    With a morning strand of sun,
    this nightmare which had begun
    so suddenly, suddenly ceased.
    It was a place of white surroundings,
    pale but for eyes of pain,
    eyes that penetrate rain.
    Eyes that penetrate rain.

    …by Jay J Pennington


    Beautiful nature,
    Eternal peace,
    The creator’s greatest gift.
    Honor or dishonor,
    Like or dislike,
    For human choice it’s left.
    The nectarine peace
    At the threshold of world
    Wait for our sensible choice
    To choose betwixt,
    Lasting Harmony or hatred.

    Flowers blossom….
    The serene season of spring
    Showers solace and comfort.
    Lighting our hearts lamp,
    The seed of peace they plant;
    To nurture a human bondage
    That lasts forever in a true spirit,
    Yes, why not we lighten others,
    With the wick of love and faith.

    The breeze of egoism and hate,
    The surge for greed and revenge
    Create the ugliest wars among us
    Playing havoc with own survival.
    Why not with love and concern
    With an objective of self-realization,
    And with true ideals of compassion
    Bind ourselves with love and passion
    To usher an eternal ‘Global Harmony’.

  58. Poppy Days

    Red is the colour of our love
    Rich and warm and flowing thick as blood
    A crimsoned ribbonned stream of life a line
    Through seasoned time linking the passing dead

    With now And then

    To show a gem of captured rubessence
    In brilliant presence as glowing praise
    For Poppy days blessed in November
    As tear stained flowers we remember

    And then Again

    Before the rain a painted morning sky
    To wonder by or set the coming night
    To give delight and colour words we’ve said
    The heart ache of our love to red.

  59. LEST WE FORGET – Posted 11th November 2014
    I wrote these words as a song in 1987 but I believe that the lyrics here will also stand up as a poem. Incidentally the song can be heard on Youtube:
    http://youtu.be/Qfai5XkRxwk – Here are the words alone.

    LEST WE FORGET – Alun Rhys Jones (1987)

    Verse 1
    If I just close my eyes, I remember the day Lord Kitchener called us to go
    And at seventeen years, I joined brave volunteers, well, what else was a young man to do
    My father recounted his own glory days, as he wore medal ribbons with pride
    But I had no quarrel with Fritz, but I knew,
    It was not up to me to decide, to decide,
    It was not up to me to decide

    Verse 2
    On the day I joined up, we were cheered by the crowd, all heroes for heeding the call
    And the holiday atmosphere banished the tears over how of us might fall
    And the band it played on as we boarded the train and we took the King’s shilling, each one
    But ev’ry man there shared the same silent fear:
    That before very long he’d be gone, he’d be gone,
    That before very long he’d be gone.

    Verse 3
    Each evening at home, as the tables were set, an empty chair waited for me
    To my younger brothers, a hero was I, firing guns, far away ‘cross the sea
    But the “war to end wars” was a sordid affair, in the trenches, the blood and the gore
    And a bloody great shell blew my mates all to Hell
    And I cried “What the hell’s all this for, dear God?”
    And I just couldn’t take any more

    Verse 4
    Although I came home, things were never the same and the nightmares went on in my head
    A pension was something I never had planned… Oh, and too many friends of mine dead
    So I count up the poppies of Paschendael’s fields, for the hundreds of thousands of men
    And I’m told to rest easy, one things for sure…
    That it never could happen again, so they say
    That it surely can’t happen again

    Repeat: So I count up the poppies… Latter part of Verse 4 to finish

  60. (An incident which is still difficult to deal with)

    ‘Of Scars and Stories’
    Invisible to all who saunter by
    The ‘Other Man’ who lives within my frame
    Where once was light, I canst but now decry
    Non–physical the scars which also maim
    Twas as the day succumbed to starlit night
    Advancing o’er the land with senses primed
    Mine eyes didst then behold a dreadful sight
    Such life till then as known; now reassigned
    One’s mind doth replay dreams; to reconnect
    With time when innocence hath paid high price
    By tripping wire; a friend, I do suspect
    Didst seal the fate of two near said device
    Tho I survived in part to tell this tale
    I’ve Prayed to make both whole, to no avail

    Aramis /|\

  61. Implore to War
    All ye who call the Lord to arms; shout loud
    Or else said foe may drown you out with plea
    Divinity divined, as here avowed
    Wouldst in His name proclaim such by decree
    Yet none should dare invoke Creator’s ire
    By testing of His favour o’er each side
    May hasten them a place on fune’ral pyre
    No righteousness be gained through tactics plied
    Tis nature of mankind to be unkind
    Usurping of our Deity’s intent
    In gifting us ‘Free Will’ I think you’ll find
    Didst hope we’d trill sweet song and not lament
    Accepting fault’s our own proves hard to bear
    When facing up to truth without a Prayer

    Aramis /|\

  62. In memory of the ‘Trench Poets’ (Great War)

    A War of Words
    Mine eyes are fixed, yet mind doth wander still
    Recounting times of innocence at play
    When love of life brought warmth with winter’s chill
    Of friends who added sunshine to the day
    Now morning mist pervades my own worst fears
    Beyond all life’s divide, where foe doth dwell
    As windblown poppy weeps with blood red tears
    For one who dared to dream midst sound of shell
    With fighting words which soared above the din
    This soulful bard would brandish as his art
    To rally men without, from deep within
    To raise morale on high, to set apart
    With rationed prose now sparse bereft of muse
    Canst I with turn of phrase e’er hope infuse

    Aramis /|\

  63. (In Remembrance)

    “Eyes Left”

    With sideways glance they bid a last farewell
    Alone in thought amongst respectful throng
    Whilst striding by their image casts a spell
    So many who dared brave to right what’s wrong
    Young names engraved in stone and on their heart
    Shown in relief; yet undercover kept
    Mean more than chiselled font as works of art
    Held memories release sad tears as wept
    “Our Sacrifice that all may live in peace”
    In silence from the grave, all raise one voice
    Remembrance for a time doth make guns cease
    Imparting precious gift of freedom’s choice
    Sweet light upon their face, no more will dawn
    Each one deserving of a ‘Poppy’ worn

    Aramis /|\

  64. (Inspired by the ‘Poppy Flow’ at the Tower of London)

    Flows the River Red

    ‘Nine Hundred Thousand Stems’ now wend their way
    On down to river’s edge from vaulted room
    “Once more into the light” (I softly pray)
    Such sacrifice inferred by every bloom
    In situ, they appear untouched by time
    Divining out sad path to journey’s end
    As did on day each left for foreign clime
    In hope of righting wrongs, indeed forfend
    Tis ‘Bloody Tower’ which hosts centenary
    Where Kings of yore dared raise one’s severed head
    Bears witness now in testamentary
    To all poor souls perchanc’d for country ‘bled’
    Here flows the river red beyond known shore
    Whilst ravens pick at bones until no more

    Aramis /|\

  65. All Dried Out

    In truth, no tears have I still left to weep
    Didst fall as comrades dreams where e’er they lie
    Now darkness reigns to haunt and sometimes creep
    As tortured mind replays o’er times passed by
    Recounting names and ghostly forms; their due
    Lest we forget the sacrifices made
    Through we alone, yes we the ‘Lucky few’
    Seared memory, doth hold them on parade
    Resplendent with their youthful years on show
    In eagerness they ventured forth; so brave
    As bright as any bright new morn’ aglow
    To reap what hath been sown beyond the grave
    When man at times doth seem as if Hell-bent
    Such brief existence may prove Heaven sent

    Aramis /|\

  66. I m not trying to be anti-war and I think our armed forces contend with so much on our behalf but the troops have now all returned from Afghanistan and my mind is currently trying to work through the reasoning behind us being there and what has been achieved. One of the main reasons given for us being in Afghanistan, was to stop the trade in opium which has actually increased. Hence these poems:

    Poppy of Afghanistan

    of eternal peace
    for sacrifice
    of remembrance
    so ironic
    to become
    the cause
    for dispute
    for life’s end
    and conflict
    blooms still
    despite bullets
    of death
    men return
    poppy remains
    opium stained
    blood red
    of peace
    of death

    A Battle I Don’t Understand

    Troops now left Afghanistan,
    The remnants of the caravan,
    I know not why or when began,
    What was the overriding plan?
    What sacrifice was for?

    No true reasoning is conveyed,
    No hand of terror truly staid,
    History yet is soundly made,
    Opinions future seeds down laid.
    Oppressors or facilitates of freedom?

    What legacy do bullets leave?
    What did those holes in life achieve?
    How will their lost blood be perceived?
    Will future generations’ grieve?
    Decisions made amiss?

    I search ‘how many UK troops killed in Afghanistan’,
    I then scroll down again and again,
    Faces of past promise, blur together.
    The faces with no future.
    So many faces.
    I ask,

  67. November 11th

    Lest we forget the glorious dead,
    And their deeds, not our own,
    They live forever on this day,
    Their memory eternally present,
    Through the red of the poppy,
    An undying symbol of our recognition.

    Only the letters in the stones now remain,
    The youth of the old now gone and no longer able,
    But the metal did not die that day,
    And still it takes the lives of the many,
    A cold blooded reaper in the hands of no longer innocent men.

    Lest we forget they did achieve their Ardent Glory ,
    At least in mine eyes if not their own.
    And as the old times blur and meld,
    Like the memories of the marching dead,
    A salutary tribute passes the old white cross,
    Lasting three full days and three full nights.

    We forever remember our debt and our glorious dead.

    • The Boy I Loved Best by Tom Robason

      Dulce Et Decorum Est
      My sweetest boy, I loved him best.
      He was my heart, my soul, my life.
      I am his widow, was his wife.

      They speed him through a darkening night.
      A chastened, hastened, final flight.
      They bring him home, his pain to cease, and lay my love to rest in peace.

      Some tokens of a life in vain,
      Of death and honour, joy and pain.
      Polished boots, an old kit bag.
      His coffin, draped in union flag.

      Paraded through a somber town
      A howling, scowling wind blows down.
      A gun salute with faces bowed
      His family numb, his country proud.

      The town clock strikes a deathly chime
      A bandsman beats his drum in time.
      The bugler stands to play last post,
      and send him to a land of ghosts.

      This hand of death a cruel thief
      A haunted mothers endless grief.
      Her son, who grasped her hand at birth
      Entombed in unforgiving earth.

  68. Remembrance

    As I lay in the depths of a once barren field – poppies grow from our hearts.

    Now my soul is up there, in a place where I can look over you. Anytime. Anywhere.

    Myself – exhausted, petrified, lost like a stick floating down a river.

    A crash. A boom. I’m on the floor; eventually I am washed away on to the shore.

    I look around; I see you remembering me. I smile a simile as happy as ever.

    You remember me. I remember you.

    So sometimes look up into the blue and that will show me that you care.

    Josh O’Toole
    October 2014

  69. Delayed on Tour by SSgt Liam Walsh – Combined Passenger Handling Facility (CPHF) Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Nov 2013

    From the beginning until the very end
    A great number of days you will amend
    Like a master piece of art
    You fill out your chuff chart

    Finally, the big day comes around
    “Get in!” I’m nearly homeward bound!
    Off to the terminal with a booking in hand
    Please take me away from this foreign land!

    Booking reference number, ID and passport shown
    Hurry up! check me in! I can’t wait to go home!
    Bags on the scanner, all labelled with tags
    Be careful! The RAF police will be checking for fags!

    Through to the lounge, a choice of Coffee or Tea!
    Old newspapers, magazines and wifi thats FREE!
    Staring at your tablet, fake beats on your head
    Little do you know what’s about to be said!

    “Sirs, Ma’am’s, Ladies, Gents! Can I have your attention please?”
    Come on let’s face it, you already know what this means!
    No bags, no weapons and nowhere to go
    Do you know if we will fly home tomorrow?

    What aircraft was it? Oh …it WAS the Tristar!
    The fleet is so old, they no longer go far!
    So once again another delay
    I want to go home soon, I can only pray!!!

  70. Perpetual

    Let blighted souls rise once again
    And learn to love the wrath of men
    And boldly stand to break that will
    Feel nothing now and not again

    I will take it all and not be broken
    Nor wince in anguish or in pain
    And a smile return as taunts are spoken
    No tears to capture, just strength to gain

    They can come in droves, to try and conquer
    Leave bloody wounds without complain
    And still I shall be free to ponder
    But from your soothing umbrella, I’ll refrain

    Sticks and stones may one day hurt me
    A Pain the mind can wash away,
    And with direction it can curse me
    But it won’t shape, or change my way

    The wrath of man a weary ill
    To hurt another less than he
    Has been forever and is still
    The curse no more I’d like to see

    Let the never ending by my guide
    And bless my safe perpetual stride
    To never shirk nor lose my faith
    Let battle rage and keep me safe

    Take me again into foreign lands
    To that treacherous and endless eternal
    Unbind my leash cut free my hands
    And watch me wreak my hell on thee

    This is I, all I can be
    And all I have is just my will
    That power born into my sinew
    Inside the womb,and with me still

  71. Marine A

    If I could turn back the clocks would it mean much to you
    If I could pick my last kill would it really matter who
    If we stopped all the talk and forget what we saw
    Would I still be a killer as is claimed by the law

    As I sit here and think I count hours by day
    As I sit down and drift I have little to say
    As I lay here at night I have little to fear
    And I ask no more questions my conscience is clear

    Now you make me the scapegoat Im both butcher and lamb
    Now you leave me with nothing in the storm and the calm
    Now they say I was wrong but they taught me no less
    Im already forgotten and the end is a guess

    Let me take u too war with your daughter and son
    Let me lead you too battle I can say it’s no fun
    Let me leave u alone with just your wits and a gun
    But you said that you trust me now you leave me and run

    I cannot say sorry though I’m told it is right
    I cannot say nothing as you paid us too fight
    I cannot complain as I took the queens pound
    I can only be honest it was me on the ground

    So answer my question who’s really too blame
    So tell me the reason that I carry this shame
    So all of the medals the parades and the cheer
    We’re nothing but show and now not worth a tear

    I was only sixteen when you taught me to kill
    I committed the act but did not seek the thrill
    I was never barbaric just a means to an end
    Rules were made to be broken only some did I bend

    I am still here and fighting and one day I’ll be free
    I will still be successful if you wait you will see
    I can never be broken a green beret made that so
    I did all that u asked me and did right as you know

    I am no more a danger than the branch of a tree
    I am not a cold killer it was him you or me
    I am now left with nothing but my number and name
    The shame lies with you sir you are spineless and lame


    Soldier out there on your own, is it worth the thrill you seek
    Lying cold beneath the moon, no persons there too speak
    Do lonely days, and endless nights, wreak havoc with your mind,
    Or have u walked the road too far with little else to find.

    You watch me through that looking glass, I see you from afar
    Your world consists of you alone, a hollow empty jar
    Motionless for endless days your home a shaded creek,
    Brave men take the oceans, the parched earth for the meek.

    Master of the dark glide, the glint on mountain dew
    The cold stare of one thousand yards glimmering back at you
    The Pilgrim and the shepherds son, loss and pain too follow,
    Will etch a map upon your brow, in lines of endless sorrow

    You took your place without regret, no winners in this game
    A nomad in a distant land with all the world too blame.
    A shadow of the man when young, oozed class, and life and soul
    But through the looking glass I see the remains of all they stole.

    Were more alike than you could know judge not my distant frown,
    taking the minutes of my days, for country, queen or crown.
    I wonder if we met one day on distant shores from here,
    Would we ponder quaint or vividly and share each others beer.

    We bare the cross upon our backs, 10,000 years of man
    Dictators born to every shore, each year since time began.
    And we the pawn, and servant too, our sons they wish to borrow,
    controlled machines, paid not too think, programmed just to follow.

    It’s no intent of mine to end our weary silent pain,
    I’d rather toast the summer sun, and taste the autumn rain.
    My heart remains so far away with all my dreams to follow,
    A gulf of pointless suffering, THE SAME AGAIN TOMMORROW.

    I’ve watched you tenderly caress the cold steel of her frame,
    That tool that makes your trade so sweet, a kiss with every aim.
    Tick by tock the hours pass your days and nights the same
    The hand that ends the beating heart and escapes without the shame

    Shadow me beneath the stars, and shade me from the sun,
    Don’t seek to end the chase too soon nor see my colours run.
    A force of nature powers me, a deeper dark control,
    In the blueprint of my makeup, and the sinew of my soul.


    So have a laugh and force a smile, be the player not the game,
    I hope and pray you realise, were equal, born the same.
    Our paths were chosen long ago, by the bitter hand of fate,
    Branded in eternity, four letters spelling HATE.


  73. John McCrae in 1915 wrote In Flanders Fields while at Ypes. I first heard this poem when I was five and was roused by its passion. Later I discovered Moina Michael who had written an answer to John’s poem. This is something I didn’t think possible. This year in Andover they planted poppies to commerate World War 1 and my poem is a letter to the men and women who died based on Flanders Fields

    In Andover the poppies grow

    In Andover the poppies grow
    in our round-a-bouts row on row
    They mark a time. Your war long gone
    pushed aside by another one.
    There is one thing I’d like to know
    One question that gives me pause
    On television I’ve watched countless wars
    As children grow in Andover
    Each poppy, each day, a soul gone
    Britain’s Great War now 100 years on
    Did we catch the torch, hold it high?
    Did we keep the faith? ,though you died
    Was it worth your quarrel with the foe?
    My thoughts have brought me here to this
    Generation to a man, you will be missed
    In Andover where the poppies grow

    (C) by Catherine Randle


    Two rivers embrace
    each other violently,
    They twist and swirl,
    Hurl and explode in their faces,

    Coming down eagerly
    Riding the proud wave of patriotism,

    White spray caught in the wind,
    steals the light of the rainbow,
    As onlookers hope the water would fall back,
    With a taste of peace,
    the colours of a rainbow,
    At least in its reflection,

    The sun did reveal its true,
    crimson colour though,

    Once for all time
    One standoff performance,
    For eyes that smiled but now remain vague
    A communion to savour by all,

    All under the oaths of a wish,
    They could just as easily,
    Turn their eyes away,
    From the spectacle,

    One that is now the lens
    That sits astride their faces

    Mediating between us all and the world,
    A vision that one hundred years,
    Had not the power to distort.

    (Written in remembrance of the first world war.)

    LEMUEL NORTEY ( 27/08/2014)
    Freelance Journalist and poet.

  75. Ode To A Blade Of Grass

    Oh! whispering blade, ever hath your kin,
    Swung and danced over grabbled graves of mine,
    Where nightingales are oft enticed to sing,
    To those mown down in regimented line,
    Who once as barefoot lovers trod you well,
    Then swore allegiance to a sovereign lie,
    To fall in foreign fields where poppies swell,
    Coffers in answer to a bankers cry,
    ‘Tis true the sons of man can ill afford,
    The blood they spill upon your verdant sword,

    Still you embrace them all both friend and foe,
    Line the verges that mark their pathways home,
    From mist strewn glens to mountains topped with snow,
    Through each sunrise beyond the evening’s gloam,
    Bejeweled with bright sparkling beaded dew,
    You welcome them all and feel not their hate,
    The atheist, christian, muslim jew,
    You enfold them all in eternal wait,
    Unconditional in your soft embrace,
    Thou carer for the bones of every race,

    You know full well that all things come to pass,
    That in due time, to you everything yields,
    If only men could stand as blades of grass,
    Knitted together
    in love’s morphic fields,
    Maybe then they would do all that they can,
    To ensure they let not their freedom seep,
    And walking now where as a boy I ran,
    Moving towards my own eternal sleep,
    Still, still I cannot for the life of me,
    Understand why men must die, to be free.


    The machine gun in the First World War
    turned no-man’s land into a slaughter house
    which killed thousands. At the battle of the
    Somme 10,000 British soldiers fell before the
    Deadly machine guns . . . within minutes of
    leaving the trenches.

    Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
    Melody of the machine gun
    Spaying death into no-man’s land
    Cutting down solders
    Like a harvester slicing through wheat.

    Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
    Nowhere to run and hide
    Calling for their mothers
    Some dying alone in the mud
    Others tangled on the wire.

    Chitter chatter, chitter chatter
    Gunners want to stop the dance of death
    But the soldiers keep on coming
    And with new belts of bullets ready
    Hell has come to the Western Front.

    Colin Ian Jeffery

  77. A Gaza Childhood 2014

    Who will weep

    When the well of tears have filled

    The oceans with the tears of sorrow

    For innocents who will know no tomorrow.

    If you could imagine your beautiful child

    Wrapped in the comfort of your love

    Whose face has been torn apart

    Her brother’s body stilled and sliced in two

    Wrapped now in the white cloth of grief.

    The conscience of the world has died with them

    And innocence has died a thousand times

    With each young passing fragile life

    For they will not now know of the hate that killed them

    A hatred that denied their little soul of humanity,

    Will not see the lasting love in their parent’s eyes

    Or the rainbow colours painted in the skies,

    Feel the guiding hand that leads them to the truth

    That life was built on hope and peace, a better life.

    Little child, out of adversity you had courage

    Out of suffering you lived to treasure every breath

    In death you will not know that others are now free

    So rest now my beautiful children of the earth

    Your pain is now over in your short lives,

    But your memory is burnt into the conscience

    Of an uncaring world.

    To those left in your darkest hours

    Hold each other and hush the cries of the living

    For they will know what love is.

    I can weep no more or write

    For all the crying has now passed.

  78. First World War poems


    The bloodcurdling swirl of bagpipes boosted the morale for men of the Scottish regiments, and intimidated the enemy during World War One. Unarmed, drawing attention to himself the piper would lead the men ‘over the top’ of the trenches and into battle. Over 1000 pipers died.

    Up and out of the trench he goes
    The regiment’s piper with only his bagpipes
    Standing exposed he plays
    Walking along the top of the trench.

    Soldiers hear the swirl of the pipes
    See their piper facing enemy fire alone
    Rise up and swarm from the trench
    Following the piper over no-man’s land.

    Over shell craters and through barbwire
    With German machine guns raking the lines
    And While still hearing the swirl of pipes
    Many fall in valour never to rise again.

    Colin Ian Jeffery


    Going over the top in World War One was when soldiers climbed from their trench to attack enemy trenches. At the battle of the Somme a British general ordered his men to walk towards the German trenches and not run. “ We don’t want the enemy to think we British are cowards.” Thousands died because of his command.

    Birds no longer sing
    Where young men cower in trenches
    Rifle and bayonet fixed
    Wondering if they will live or die
    Wanting the comfort of a mother’s kiss.

    Officers blows whistles
    And the brigade climb out of trenches
    Walking over shell craters and through barbwire
    On towards waiting machine gunners
    Surmounting terrors that make men mad.

    There is no sound
    But beating of each soldier’s heart
    As he steps forward into hell
    Trying to control his fears and panic
    Thinking of his loved ones back home.

    Machine gunners open up
    With chatter of bullets raking the ranks
    Noise is deafening, screams as men are hit and fall
    With wounded struggling in the mud
    And for the dead grieving mothers to mourn.

    Colin Ian Jeffery


    At the outbreak of World War One horses were used as cavalry, but because of trenches, barbed wire and machine guns they were used for pulling guns, carrying ammunition and transport. Over 8 million horses died on all sides. British horses that survived the war were sold off as cheap meat to Belgium butchers.

    Shrill neighing of horses
    Screams out terror on the battlefield
    Harnessed to the big gun
    Eyes wide with fright
    Whipped on through dragging mud.

    Proud animals with spirits broken
    Treated as beasts of burden
    Moving ammunition, guns and shells
    Used abused without compassion
    Supplying the trenches of hell.

    There was no respite or mercy
    Slaughtered by enemy fire
    Dreaming of lush green fields of home
    Cantering free and joyful
    Without terror of Man’s war.

    Colin Ian Jeffery


    During the battle of the Somme, France, 1916, the British sustained 60,000 casualties on the first day. Torrential rains turned the battlefield into a quagmire. In one month the Allies advanced five miles at the cost of 450,000 German. 200,000 French and 420,000 British lives. I lost two uncles

    Blood red poppies sway
    Over silent fields
    Where birds no longer sing.
    Once big guns roared
    And young men
    Suffered terror in the mud.

    Chaplains searched the carnage for God
    Finding him gassed and bloody
    Crucified upon the wire
    One poppy lost among the thousands.

    Colin Ian Jeffery

  79. I wrote this poem yesterday for a friend who’s Granddad died in Flanders fields in Belgium.

    Remember at a little candle flame

    Remember at a little candle flame
    Who now is there with you no more
    We think of them and pray to God
    O Lord, please give us warmth and light

    Remember near that candle stand
    Those memories of long lost heroes
    Pray the Lord that he will keep us safe
    And guide us through the lonely night


    • WO2 SSM Kev Sharrock’s poem
      Inspired by the moving last post at the Menin gate, a parade I recently had the honour to march in.

      It aims to tell the story of a soldier killed by gas after going over the top into no mans land. He remembers his daughter as he lay dying and sees her mourn. A ghost now, he sees his gravestone at Tyne Cot and visits the Menin gate during remembrance day and decides to go to heaven when joined by his daughter Amy.
      Amy – The Day I died

      That murderous tune blown static by fear unfamiliar land so very near,
      Alone, so alone choking, breathing, futile rasping sour breath, stalking grotesque apparition crawling from death,
      The eyes in my soul averted their gaze, by Flanders beaten encompassing daze,
      Captured by warmth I watched myself lie, shocking departure I feel like I fly,
      Visions, echoes of Amy, tears running dry, the doll will not help now, daddy why?
      The horror the murder humanity mourns, masons record moss free it adorns,
      The Menin arch, records me in stone, the drums approaching, no longer alone
      I watch you silently speech is unsent, you pass through my ghost as the bugler’s lament
      Amy is with me her hand holding tight, many remain as I fly to the light,
      As I leave Flanders where many have cried, remember me and the day I died.

  80. From these fields of green and gold,
    Where stories of glory are often told,
    I leave home for honour and empire,
    With orders to load, aim…. and fire

    Duty is to be my watchword,
    To fight a noble fight,
    Leaving home is easy,
    To fulfil the heroes plight,

    In these fields of barbwire and craters,
    Where dreams of peace are left in tatters,
    Empty shells of munition and men,
    Will never see the light again,

    Duty is my watchword,
    To fight the noble fight,
    I’m ready In the trenches,
    With the enemy in my sight,

    In these fields of death and comradely,
    Where the greatest tool seems to be the diary,
    Mud and blood smear sight and ink,
    There is to much time to sit and think,

    Duty is My watchword,
    To fight the noble fight,
    My comrades have gone over,
    Leaving me contrite,

    In these fields of bodies and stench,
    Where the Loneliest place seems to be the trench,
    It was Christmas when it’ll all be over,
    Oh, how I long for those white cliffs of Dover,

    Duty is my watchword,
    To fight the noble fight,
    The armistice is declared,
    Can we finally see the light?

    Leaving these fields of poppies and gravestones,
    Where most soldiers are now unknowns,
    I grieve for friends, now long lost,
    Who fell in battle, I wonder for what cost

    Duty was my watchword,
    I fought the noble fight,
    The war to end all wars,
    Lets hope the harbingers are right.

  81. I am your wife <3

    I am your wife
    And This Is our life
    I sit here I wait and wait
    For messages , photos hoping your safe
    I am your wife with a heavy heart
    Missing you my love , so far apart

    I often relive our goodbye
    Your kiss my tears as I cry
    I am strong I have to be
    But that doesn't mean it is easy

    Each day each night is a worry
    Time stands still it never Hurries
    The first thing I think of when I wake
    The last at night make no mistake
    And through my dreams I see you still
    Wishing you were here that I could feel

    You go away all time
    It's our life and we live it just fine
    Yes we always miss
    But nothing can compare to this
    Thinking of you out there
    So unsafe it's just not fair

    But your my hero and I am proud
    I picture you in your surround
    Standing tall I swell with pride
    As you take it all in your stride

    I read the papers watch the news
    Anything to feel closer to you
    Each time I read I make it worse
    I cry I sob it really hurts

    But I have to picture you out there
    Alive and brave ,yes I'm scared
    It makes me worry a thousand times more
    But to block it out would feel so wrong

    I see your armour on your heart
    Your boots your gun , a world apart
    I see you out on patrol
    My real life hero who won't be stole

    But I am your wife and I am proud
    And I won't forget not until your on home ground
    Each day I will live it with you
    And that is how I get through .

    I am your wife and I am proud
    Can't wait for you to be home safe and sound x

    • Ah…….Proximity.

      A nearness,
      A time.
      A fuse….for H.E.
      A means of death.
      When shared with….
      White phosphorous….. it’s ,
      Salt n Pepper.
      But mainly…….it’s ,

      Death and destruction.
      Giajl © Jim Love

  82. Many years ago I heard the adage, “When someone gets something they didn’t earn, someone else earned something they didn’t get”. This adage has stuck with me and has been coming to mind more and more often each time I see or hear the plight of another soldier who has been maimed, killed or suffering from a brain injury. These men and women get so very little praise or even awareness from the vast majority of our country that I was moved to write this poem. I’m an engineer who worked in the defense industry rather than serving in the military. It was important work but there was a world of difference. I worked all day engineering F4 aircraft without any one ever shooting at me.

    Owed to the Life of the Soldier
    by Curt Vevang

    You saved our freedom by going to war.
    I worked and partied and stayed on our shore.
    I have what you’ve earned, I’ve hardly a care.
    You fought in the war. Life’s not at all fair.

    You were killed one day, by a road side bomb.
    I’m here in the states in the peace and calm.
    I have the freedom that you’ve earned for me.
    Your life has ended. I’m happy and free.
    I have what you’ve earned, I’ve hardly a care.
    Your home is a box. Death’s not at all fair.

    You lie there in pain, confined to your bed,
    fragments of shrapnel entombed in your head.
    What price did I pay for all that I got?
    A pebble of sand compared to your lot.
    I have what you’ve earned, I’ve hardly a care.
    You lie in that bed. War’s not at all fair.

    I have my freedom which I didn’t earn.
    You paid the price and got nil in return.

    Owed to the Life of the Soldier has been published in:
    • Poems of the World, Volume 16 #3, Spring 2012
    • WestWard Quarterly, Fall 2012.
    • Chicago Tribune website, Memorial Day, 2012

  83. The website ” ww1poet.co.uk ” shows numerous WW1 poems, plus a few WW2 poems, plus other poems, paintings and models all written / created by my grandfather Private 285412 Joseph G Hughes of the 15th Welsh 1915 – 1918
    All but one poems are unpublished. They were only discovered a couple of years ago by his relatives.
    One poem was written by Lt Col John McCrea “In Flanders fields” but was added to by my grandfather.

  84. I Have Gone, But There are Those

    No more figures of eight,
    No klaxons call.
    Of ships making waves.
    Phosphoric shafe,
    or their light trails …….
    of death.

    With their ever omnipresent images,
    Those that sadly sank.
    Have at last, finally settled…….
    Their final breath .
    That silent trail of bubbles……

    Meanwhile the birds.
    Have once again …..reclaimed ,
    their skies!
    Those metal predators,
    which screamed along the sound.
    Mere echoes ……….
    of the mind.

    Where now the islands
    and her shores .
    Are quiet…..nay idyllic ….once again .
    Are as silent….., as are those,
    Who now lay…….
    neath its soil and its sea.

    Who still guard them.
    Giajl © Jim Love

  85. Jock Love I was in Sudan in 1975 , before the Gulf War, but it was a dessert none the less on said:

    We’ll always hear

    From stormy dessert winds
    I hear the sound of battles roar

    The rattle and chink of link
    As death sweeps the desert floor

    Followed by the crump
    of the mortar, and the shell.

    Welcome to my world
    On the battlefield of hell

    The wind like the noise
    Is now abated

    Dawn filters through
    Another sleepless night

    When we’ve formed
    and stood upon that wall.

    We’ll always hear
    That wind

    Giajl © Jim Love

  86. Do Bayonets Glisten Before You

    Zzzzzzzzzzit !
    Zzzzzzzzzzit !
    Zzzzzzzzzzit !
    Slow…. and rhythmic .
    As the steel….slowly fed,
    The sharpening stone.
    And eventually …..
    It began shine.
    Along a fine……
    Thin, line.
    Where tapered steel
    Now had an edge.
    To cut and slash,
    As well as……

    Giajl © Jim Love

  87. We Waited As They….

    I’ve walked the fields of fire.
    Between the mortalš world,
    Along the avenues of death.
    I heard the crack, and then
    The thump
    And as it passed me by,
    I felt it’s sickly breath,
    Then I saw them fall.
    As fairies danced ….
    working their majik.

    claimed their dead !
    Giajl © Jim Love

  88. Close Up…

    In the wee small hours,
    600 men passed this way.
    And nary a one, spoke a word.
    Heavily armed, men of war.
    Inside the houses.
    Hushed, a slumber all.
    Not even dogs ,nor cattle,
    Heard the passing thrall!
    Ever Onward they went.
    Envious of those inside,
    wrapped In duck down .

    Oblivious to their passing.
    Giajl © Jim Love

  89. The Gully was Dead

    I stood, within those ranks.
    I fought, within that foe.
    I saw them run, I saw them fall!
    Some got up.
    But not them all………
    While yellow gorse, crackled,
    ……as it burned.
    It’s greyish smoke…..
    did claw,
    And ravaged, all our throats.
    The wind changed,
    The flames moved on…..,
    But not us ……
    We stayed!
    We’d fought hard …..
    and knew….. we’d earned.
    This piece….. of,

    Giajl © Jim Love

  90. Earth, Wind and….

    Let the earths thunder.

    Drown out, your……

    Drums of war.

    Let the chilling rain,

    Soothe an cleanse……

    Wash away, the pain.

    Look me in the eye?

    Oh warrior……from the sky.

    When you have gone,

    Retribution……will return, once more !

    Know now, your comrades……all

    Died ………for nothing!

    On this far , and distant shore.

    For we fight,.. “a holy war”!

    And our bones, turn to dust.

    That on the wind…..chokes you .

    Oh warriors,….. of the sky.

    My soul is black, like the night .

    But my eyes burn ,

    With a martyrs …..


    Giajl © Jim Love

  91. Iraq (OP Telic 1)
    Martin Murphy

    Through a soldiers eyes he prays

    Alone in the darkness
    In a war zone I’m sealed,
    This close to danger
    Never felt so real.
    Shaking the fear
    From out of my head
    Just praying that tomorrow
    They don’t find me dead.
    Keep your eyes peeled
    Don’t fall asleep,
    Search in your soul
    For the life that you keep.
    The stillness is strange
    It’s eerie and calm,
    But the bombs will land soon
    Like a deadly alarm.
    And when the time will come
    In the shadows I will lay,
    Searching to the heavens
    To which I will pray:
    “In my hour of need
    I pray to thee,
    That a fallen comrade
    I’ll never see.
    But in that hour
    Should the winds blow,
    Ask them kindly
    To carry me home.”

  92. Iraq (OP Telic 1)
    Martin Murphy

    The tired soldier

    It is a long and lonely time
    In the war that he is fighting,
    But his loved ones bring morale
    In the letters they are writing.
    He aches and then he suffers
    From one day to the next,
    But he holds on to the dreams
    Of the days that he can rest.
    His stomach may be empty
    And his feet they may be sore,
    But his hunger will not weaken
    For a quick end to this war.
    The weight upon his shoulders
    It grows heavier by the hour,
    But his heart keeps pumping faster
    And delivers him the power.
    He’ll stay faithful to the rifle
    That by his side will never leave,
    For his weapon is as vital
    As the air in which he breathes.
    An the memories if the woman
    That this soldier left behind,
    Carry the dreams of his return
    Engraved upon his mind.

  93. Iraq (OP Telic 1)
    Martin Murphy

    The wings of war

    Stuck in the desert
    With his rifle to hand,
    He fights to survive
    In the thirst quenching sand.
    The sun is bright
    And his throat is dry,
    He fights to hold back
    The tears in his eyes.
    With the enemy so close
    And the unknown so near,
    He fights for the questions
    To be answered in clear.
    He feels so alone
    All lonely and scared,
    But he fights for the future
    That favours the brave.
    He thinks of his country
    Through these painful times,
    But he fights for the loved ones
    That he left behind.
    For when the wings of war
    Ferociously release,
    He’ll fight from the heart
    In the search for peace.

  94. Iraq (OP Telic 1)
    Martin Murphy

    The first day

    As we drove into battle
    Through my eyes I saw,
    Chaos and destruction
    The carnage was raw.
    Dodging land mines a many
    Burning fires and heat,
    There’s no room to question
    No thoughts of defeat.
    While the inch turned to miles
    We covered more land
    We’d come very far
    Our objectives were planned.
    Pushing forwards and on
    On this first day of war,
    While the birds of the sky
    Above us they roar.
    The prisoners approached us
    In their convoys they prayed,
    Now stripped of their pride
    Looking very afraid.
    With the unknown ahead
    And around every corner,
    My blood like the sun
    Pumping faster and warmer.
    We drove and we marched
    And we kept on going,
    Our alertness like our wheels
    Increasing, never slowing.
    And to the end we shall fight
    With our rifles and heart,
    For a soldier is an artist
    And his war is his art.

  95. Iraq (OP Telic 1)
    Martin Murphy

    The fighting third

    In the third I did serve
    With the third I had fought,
    And some valuable lessons
    Through the years I’d been taught.
    Where the beret of blue
    Would sit proud on our heads,
    With a silver eagle perched
    It’s able wings spread.
    It was a corps full of honours
    And dignity within it,
    I’m so proud to have served
    With these men and these women.
    Over hills and over mountains
    Through deserts we did walk,
    Searching for the heroes
    Of whom we seem to stalk.
    In battle we were restless
    Thrown into the fray,
    Courageously we fought
    With little time to pray.
    We pledged our allegiance
    We braved all our fears.
    We ignored the precious value
    Of a soldiers fallen tears.

  96. The Blue Wheelbarrow
    For the angel in the pink dress.

    On a dry and dusty day I saw a blue wheelbarrow, with long handles made of dark wood.

    The wheel is struggling as it carries its burden, but it does the job as it should.

    The man pushing appears to be crying, his eyes all puffy and red. It’s time to move on, but I wait, I wait for him to reach me instead. The wheelbarrow has a dark green cover, such a sickly, metallic sweet smell underneath, with a heavy lump in my throat, “don’t lift the cover!” but regardless, I pull it over to see.

    The first thing to strike me, such a tiny hand, tiny fingers all bent into a fist. Less than an inch below it, in my big gloved hand, the smallest most delicate wrist. Her face is held together by bright orange thread, her eyes seem to be searching the stars. Her crown should still be on there, on that beautiful head, where she lays, crumpled up inside her Dads cart.

    I put back the cover, swallow hard and just stand there, my head, Jesus Christ I can’t stop, I can’t think. My pounding heart tearing itself apart inside my aching chest, at this beautiful little angel in pink.

    Her father, his eyes screaming toward me sobs gently, silent rage and deafening shock. Why can’t I bring myself to look into this man’s eyes, oh Lord, grant me some breath that I can talk. To say sorry, to ask why, to just speak in his tongue, to show him that right then, I really do care. I realise that I would never find those words, I’ve never had such tragedy to compare.

    I slowly walked away from the blue wheelbarrow, thinking that I could leave it behind. Now every night as my daughter hugs me, that wheelbarrow crashes into my mind. Whenever she cries my stomach goes tight, when she laughs all those dark clouds disappear. Every time that she says me she loves me, I know that I have nothing to fear, but yet so much.

    The wheelbarrow has changed me forever, drank me to illness, and brought my whole life right to the edge. I couldn’t switch off from that sweet sickly smell, and I couldn’t relate any of this to my friends.
    I will never forget, such a small wrist in my hand, such beautiful soft lips kissing the sky. Such a pretty pink little dress, stained deep red with blood, those clear and lifeless brown eyes.

    I wish that I had asked for her name, something to call that three year old victim of war, so small and so beautiful with those innocent eyes, my body still aches so that I couldn’t want this any more.

    If I could tell the world of my demons, in one image to make others understand. I’d draw that blue wheelbarrow with the green cover ripped off, and that soft fragile wrist in my hand. I looked into the wheelbarrow as a young father and my comfort, is that forever I will know. No matter how often the wheelbarrow returns, I have my daughter, and my own angel in pink to hold.

    James T Clark
    Former soldier of The Household Cavalry Regiment and The Royal Regiment of Scotland

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