Thursday, 2 October 2014

Conscripts Front - To Commemorate The First World War


Welcome to my Blog.  I mostly write for children but, to commemorate the centenary of WWI I thought I would share a poem.  I was inspired to write this after watching a BBC1 Drama called The Village last year. Maybe for older children or adults, not my usual audience! Anyway if you like it, please share it. 

I do respect and appreciate the many lives and the courage of the brave souls who fought in this gruelling war.  A huge sacrifice and ordeal. I just wanted to look at how attitudes have changed in our understanding of the mental pressures war can inflict on soldiers. How those caught up in the horrors were unable to escape them.

Conscripts Front

They rallied them with brass parades,
The women and the children waved,
For England and our God be brave!
And still they shot him.

Quaking, still pubescent males,
From white cliff shore to Northern Dales,
The lurking Hun must not prevail,
And still they shot him.

Uprooted from family and farm,
Strewn amongst the death and harm,
Steady lad, o'er the top, be calm!
And still they shot him.

Fear made him duck, muddied stealth,
Elbow to elbow, no class, no wealth,
Aged and warped, trench-dampened health,
And still they shot him

Writhing limb torn off and mangled,
Bodies twitch, from barbed wire dangles,
His eye of horror glares all angles,
And still they shot him.

On leave, returned to home they craved,
Mind relaxed, implodes depraved.
Their comrades woken from their graves!
And still they shot him.

He ticked, they tocked. His mind unlocked,
The shards and shells are not forgot.
Advance you cowards! The sniper's watch.
And still they shot him.

Shakes racked each limb within his bed,
All his school friends, broken, dead.
The blast and roar ring in his head,
And still they shot him.

No longer fit, no longer strong,
No question of what might be wrong,
Orders issued, the evensong,
And still they shot him.

The papers signed “Return today.”
His own men sent without delay
They called “Deserter!” at their prey,
As they shot him.

They shot him on his Father's Farm,
Siblings, surged, shrieked in alarm,
A seeping lump in his mother's arms.
Once they shot him.

The blood trails fade,
The toot and march of home parade,
An absent name from plaque they made,
Because they shot him.

© Kate Walker