Rank, name, regiment
Embossed in memoriam
“The Great War” claimed them
n.b. It is interesting how “The Great War” is generally thought of having ended in 1918. On this memorial the dates are clearly marked 1914 ~ 1919. The discrepancy may be due to deaths occurring in Russia, where Allied forces were sent to fight Lenin’s Bolsheviks in support of the White Russians.
Young men side by side
British, Czechs, Poles, and Germans
n.b. Farmers’ fields reclaimed from airfields, except this hallowed ground that holds sons of Europe, (and Australia, Canada and New Zealand), whose souls have flown.
Out of the pines tilted on the tip of the ridge
Wheezy cries limp across the heath
Sounds of an aged asthmatic held hostage in a loose bed of twigs
Drawing out creaky breaths in a sickly rhythm
Plaintive, pathetic pleas for attention from a speechless chest
On an open ward where the staff are busy
Taking a coffee, or answering less urgent emails
Where the breathing apparatus has been shut off
And nature’s course is entering the final turn
Call local priest in
To bless with extreme unction
Last chance to sign up
From that moment, when his shadow fell
we children ran amok, mouthing our repressed pain in shouts
betrayed so young by hope of better times now held fast on a nightmare
journey of frustrations, compounded over bitter years in one long-drawn slow, silent scream
n.b. Stealing from a prompt based on Maya Angelou’s poem “Caged Bird” that includes the line “his shadow fell shouts on a nightmare scream”. I have broken all the rules about how to do this, with apologies to Bjorn at dVerse ~ Poets who set the challenge originally.