Category Archives: My War Poetry

I am no poet; those of you seeking real poetry about the First World War should look at the other section ‘Real War Poetry’ in the ‘Beyond The Grave’ category. The following few experiments are my way of expressing my thoughts and feelings about the enduring sacrifice of the men of the Great War, as well as all others who have given their lives in times of conflict.

Maybe This Time

Maybe this time sir, maybe we’ll win this time,
A smile – yes boys, have heart and stay in line, 
And God bless you – aye sir, God bless you too –
Let’s show these Huns the things a man can do.
 
But maybe this time, yes, maybe this time,
Why maybe fate this time will be so fine,
To gaze upon the lads, their cheeks still red,
And choose to let them live instead.
 
Maybe this time, oh Lord, maybe this time,
You might for once have spared those boys of mine,
You heard their cries above the sound of war,
Yet all is as it was before.

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The men who fight

For those asleep on England’s shores,
Are fighting men in foreign wars,
Are falling men in foreign wars,
For those asleep on England’s shores.
 
Come now sir, you’re being a bore,
Say some of those from England’s shores,
What cares have we for foreign wars,
When wars are fought without a cause?
 
What cares have you? You’ve some for sure,
Although you might not find the cause,
Have care for men in foreign wars,
For men who stay on distant shores.

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My Boy

They killed my boy, my Tommy’s dead,
Oh would that it were me instead,
Old should not live if young are dead,
Oh would that it were me instead.
 
But war is when the young men die,
And war is when the old men cry,
As Priam once from gates of Troy,
‘My boy,
My boy, 
My boy, 
My boy.’

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A Pardon Stands & Here Lies A Soldier

A Pardon Stands
 
A pardon! Say again, a pardon stands,
For those that died at their own country’s hands,
For those who fell at dawn in distant lands,
For those forgotten few, a pardon stands.
 
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Here Lies A Soldier
 
There used to be no writing on this slate,
It was a marble ghost, 
Devoid of all but name, and date,
It held no comfort for its host.
 
A pardon comes, thank God,
But half a hundred years too late,
For all who cared,
For all who grieved alone.
 
They did not live to see the world awake,
They did not watch the mountains shake,
They did not hear the trumpets sound,
They did not feel the earth resound.
 
Theirs was a lifetime spent in public scorn,
Too oft’ afraid their loss to mourn,
Lest others, thinking not, their grief  upset,
Cowards chanting ‘coward.’
 
How sad they never read the writing on the slate,
An honour now, to add to name, and date,
A proof of what they’d known before,
Etched out in stone for ever more,
Just seven words and nothing more,
 
‘Here lies a soldier of the War.’

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For a brother

You left, as I recall, to sounds of pomp and circumstance,
To fight the noble fight, you said, one must set sail for France,
I waved to you goodbye but as a boy I could not see,
What all the foreign fighting had to do with you and me.
 
We lit for you a candle, which burned bright through night and day,
And kept you always in our hearts though you were far away,
But when the letter told us you were never coming back,
We didn’t visit church again, your candle paled to black.
 
Now after that, the day of days, in hope I was alone,
Unbowed, I lit a flame myself that I might bring you home,
This flame was not a candle but a fire that pierced the night,
Beside the pyre I sat in vain awaiting any sight. 
 
I did not understand why you would not come back to play,
And though our mother tried to try no words that she could say,
Would stop the sense of certainty from forming in my mind,
That some day you’d come back to me, so leaving France behind. 
 
An old man now I’ve seen at last just why you kept away,
But still I come to build my fire to set the sky ablaze,
I wish that I’d been by your side to face the horror too,
Because you and I were brothers and that’s what brothers do.

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A Christmas Truce

Pale winter’s sun with her sweet dwindling light, 
To bed crept she and hid her weary face,
Whilst fell around her darkness bleak as space.
What madness might have met that fateful sight,
But for one faint and gentle spec of white?
A single flake of snow with God’s good grace,
Untouched as yet by death or human waste,
Did fair remind the world of wrong from right.
Now to this ghost both friend and foe gave chase,
With haste across the lines that had been set,
And in each other’s hearts they found a place,
To rest, amidst a merry Christmas fete,
So true the violent times could not erase, 
The mem’ries of when warring brothers met.

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The Rising Of The Sun

First light and is the night swift sent from sky to back of mind,
Forgotten timeless hours spent, awake, though eyes were blind,
Behind the clouds the sun peaks out an arm to turn the ruse,
First light’s a poet’s marvel; it’s a budding wordsmith’s muse.
 
The waking wind is whisp’ring ’bout a half remembered dream, 
That matters not the slightest to the slightly bubbling stream,
Or to the trees that bend to touch the lazy morning’s breeze,
First light’s a simmering silence; a restless reverie.
 
The little mouse fears not the owl who’s sated by the night, 
Nor does the owl have mind to kill, his bed consumes his sight,
It’s morning, let the world be so, let Nature keep Her way, 
First light’s a careless harmony; a carefree time of day.
 
But there’s the creak and cranking, from the forest over head,
A crimson dawn, and through the haze, the water runs as red, 
The sense of shame, of shattered calm, an air that’s thick with hate,
First light’s a cruel ecstasy; a bitter twist of fate. 
 
If not from owl or mouse from where, this stain upon the land?
A stranger to the playful scene, be it the claws of man?
First light’s a fickle mistress; it’s an awful game of chance,
Wake up, you might be anywhere, thank God you’re not in France.

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