In Memoriam

To commemorate the anniversary of the start of world War 1 

History Tour  (The Somme)

On the signalled route, crawls

A bus; jammed in convoy.

Far from usual destinations.

Taking a load of boys

Along the roads of France

Towards the cemetery.

 

Their voices full, in songs of

youth as, at the front, the

Leaders listen for the spirit,

But worry, as leaders do,

About the future.

 

In blazing sun, all align

To assault the first objective.

It marks our examination point.

The Cross of Remembrance;

For those who had no second chance.

 

Now, I would be dead.

I gaze upon the headstone’s

Name, rank and regiment, an

Infantryman who died today.

We share a birthday.

Tomorrow I have outlived him

No July bullet, to stop me in my tracks.

Is History feelings, not just facts.

 

Was this his first encounter?

Volunteer from service, exchanging

One country billet for another.

This first sight of battle his last.

Ten minutes fear, to end like this.

A thin line of boys plodding upwards

To meet the scything guns. Man against

Machine, mass production death.

The  factory of war producing the

Colourful, silent black of death.

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