Let us remember them

Raw boys drawn from sleepy hamlets
From village greens and smokestack towns
Raised on dreams of glory
Charging to the fray
On fields of honour and fair play
Queensbury rules, not a knife in the back
Now they paint the muddy fields of France with their blood
Cut to ribbons by machine gun fire
Lungs bloody full of mustard gas
Ears pounded by the ceaseless shells
That fill their dreams now
Pound and smash, they never stop
Barbwire pins them into history
Dried butterflies of a genus lost
They died so we might live
We might say
With knowledge they never had
We do not know the future
But we know the penalty
Should we ever commit such folly again


We shall remember them

Bloody the cost
Yet scarce we remember
The freedom their lives bought
The tyrant kept from the door
These happy shores must not forget
Those to whom the debt is owed
Not till the last word is written
The last promise made
Until our last breath too, is taken
We shall remember them

Remembrance Day

This day we pause our uncaring dash through life,
How much more we’d care if our country called,
And said we must die to take some muddy, bloody hill,
Or hold in our arms a dying boy
Who’ll never now get to live,
Only guess at what might have been.
All he can ask –
A shadow of a memory on the wall of names –
Is that we remember this debt
For all our days to come.

Remembrance Day

On this day, steeped in history
Flows once more the blood of heroes,
Those who by misfortune
Of birth, ill luck or destiny,
Found themselves young men in times of War,
And with what little of their life remained
Made good so none could say-
They did not give all when country called,
Turn back from the fray,
Or leave bloody duty to other men.
They stood and fell
In fields of France,
Mountains of Italy,
Buried in the desert sands in a land they never knew
But for war.
They fought and died
For nought but pay and pride,
Yet served a greater cause-
That we might sleep without fear,
That the world would sail on better course
And evil men would flee rather than fight these men,
Who do not tremble at the Grave
If it is well earned with grace,
Without complaint or demand,
Save that we remember them.

(C) Copyright Mark B Williams 2014
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