Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Somme

I make no apologies for re-posting this poem. I wrote it 2 years ago to commemorate the anniversary of the start of  World War One. As July 1st is the 100th anniversary of the terrible battle of the Somme, I thought I'd post it again.

My Great Uncle Jim, whom I mention in the poem, came back too, but he died shortly afterwards from the results of gassing. The lady known as Auntie Polly, who was his fiancee at the time, never married, but the family always treated her as though they had been.

'Our Poor Willie' was also my great uncle. He was my maternal grandmother's brother. She always referred to him as 'our poor Willie,' but no one ever knew why.



I’ll never truly understand
How World War I began.
The death of Archduke Ferdinand
Started the deaths of many more
The young, the old, the rich, the poor.
All died with guns in hand.

My Grandad went with Uncle Jim
And Our Poor Willie, too.
They sent them off, singing a hymn.
Grandad went to Gallipoli,
Uncle Jim left his love, Polly.
Gas in trenches did kill him.

I cannot see, in my mind’s eye
Grandad with gun in hand.
A peaceful man, sent out to die.
He fought for us, for you and me
So we can live and so that we
Safely in our beds may lie.

Grandad came home, and Willie too,
But millions more did not.
Their duty they all had to do.
They died in fear, in noise, in blood.
Everything was caked in mud.
Yet in those fields the poppies grew.

The War to end all wars, they said,
So terrible were the deaths.
The youth of Europe all lay dead.
Yet 21 short years to come
Another war. Once more a gun
In young men’s hands brought death.

One hundred years have passed since then.
What have we learned? Not much!
Too many men are killing men.
Wars still abound around the world.
Bombs and missiles still are hurled
At those who disagree with them.


July 2014

I make no apologies for this poem actually rhyming and having rhythm. I'm afraid I'm not very appreciative of the modern poems that seem to me to be little different from prose.

No, poems don't have to rhyme. I've written blank verse myself, but they, in my rather old-fashioned opinion should have something, perhaps rhythm or something to set them apart from prose. I recently saw a 'poem' that wasn't even written in lines. So it was prose! No rhythm, no rhyme.

I also think that they should be comprehensible. Some modern ones seem just too weird. What's the point in writing something if no one understands it. This writing business is supposed to be about communication isn't it?

Anyway, feel free to comment. If I can receive your comments, which isn't always guaranteed on Blogger, I'll get back to you. I think I can only see comments from my circles in Google+. At least that used to be the case. Perhaps it's changed now. I've complained often enough to Google.


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