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.