Sunday, November 09, 2014

Remembrance Day Poem: The Gallant 306

An audio file of the poem can be heard here:

I make no apology for any of the words used in this poem of Remembrance.

The Gallant 306

They were just wee lads
Sacrificially sent into battle
On strange soil
For a glorious cause
And a hero’s reward.

They left their homes
Amid a celebratory blare
Of drums and trumpets.
Their dads swelled with pride
Their mothers shed tears
The politicians promised
It would be over by Christmas.
The priests prayed with the lads
Petitioning for their protection,
Assuring them of salvation,
And God’s glory
For the Great Crusade
And War to end all wars.

Months later,
Covered in mud and blood
And piss and shit,
They sought shelter
In the cadaverous canals
Which entombed
Their bodies, hearts, and souls.

As shell after shell
Screamed through the air
Destined to create
Bloody craters,
Filled with arms and legs
Heads and torsos
Of friends and foes,
The insanity of war
Blasted to pieces
Their core of humanity,
Making them cry out
“No more! No more!
No fucking more!”

They left their trenches
Amid an accusatory stare
Of officers and guards.
Their hearts broken inside
Their faces full of tears
The generals proclaimed
It would be over at dawn.

Shaking with shell shock,
Blindfolded belligerently,
And tightly tied to a post,
Piss running down their legs,
And confusion running through their minds,
The wee lads were
Officially branded
And reprimanded as cowards.

Three last words of war
Screamed through the air
Like destructive shells,
Shocking their system
For one last awful time
“Ready! Aim! Fire!”

The priests prayed over the lads
Petitioning for their souls,
Asking for salvation,
While inwardly blaspheming
The glory
Of the Great Crusade
And War to end all wars.

(c) John Stuart 2014

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