by | Jun 5, 2006 | Poetry | 0 comments

Transfixed by Kitchener’s finger
they signed up by the score
heroes waved away with cheers
where jeering turned to war.

In order not to miss the fun
they smartened up their kit
these soldier boys were lied to
led away, and blown to bits.

They found themselves in trenches
fighting dysentery and gas
rats that gnawed on corpses
and a crater-filled crevasse.

And so they marched upon the Somme
where orders came at dawn
to walk towards the Maxim gun
and fall like ripened corn.

Across the grim and wiry waste
the wounded lay like ghouls
slowly decomposed of hope
for warfare has no rules.

A sea of youth and crucifix
swamped in sad salute
tin hats on top of rifles
and a Tommy at its root.

A schoolboy who will never age
nor let the years condemn
who lied to let himself enlist
and died with fellow men.

So when the sun goes down tonight
try not to forget
if joy comes in the morning
we are all in Tommy’s debt.


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