For those shot for cowardice in the first world war

by | Jan 3, 2007 | Poetry | 0 comments

Their voices echo down the years, demanding justice.
“It’s the noise, echoing, rebounding in the muddy trenches.
The shells continuous shrieking,exploding in front and rear”
“I just wandered off, not knowing who or what i was”
“I’m not afraid to die, it’s living in this hell,
that causes the problem, i start to shake,my brain goes dead”

Then the finger pointing General “No time for cowards,
Court Martrial them, stamp out this cancer”
Courts Martial obligatory – verdicts guilty -punishment death.
Shell shock – trauma – just excuses for cowards.

Then the voices of the firing squads are also heard,
“The poor devil was legless, his brain already dead,
His bowells running out of control. He called for his mam,
As we tied him to a chair he talked to her”
“What are they doing to me mam, they have covered my eyes.
Sorry mam i’ved messed myself. Help me mam”,

The executioners once more,”What a way to die,
His blood mingled with the filth in his trousers,
God forgive me my part in his death”.
And still the voices of the dead cry out,
“I’m not a coward, No blindfold for me,
I will look death full in the face, i’m not guilty,
Shot as a coward, no pension for my wife”.

Once more the General points the way,
“Shooting is wasteful – take them back – patch them up,
Return them to duty,we are desperate for men”
Then again the chorus of doomed voices is heard’,
“They strapped me down, attached some wires,
My body convulsed as it took the shock”
“I could not speak – not a word- or a croak,
So they gave me more electric shocks – i screamed”
“They gave me injections, i slept for ages”
“IT must have helped, i’m better now i think”


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