READERS’ POETRY: From the Bury Free Press of Friday, November 6

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This week’s poem, called Remembrance, is by K Byrom.

‘Now listen lads and listen well’

The sergeant bellowed loud

‘We’re going over the top now

So do your country proud,

There’s nothing there to stop us

From making all the yards

The gerry’s all but been bombed out

The going won’t be hard,

So gather up your kit boys

And fix your bayonets tight

We’ll have this battle won lads

Before we see another night’

The sergeant blew his whistle

Just as the hour struck

We climbed out of the trenches

And we stumbled through the muck.

There was an eerie kind of silence

That made my stomach crawl

Then the bullets came a flying

And the boys began to fall.

The rattle of machine guns

Was all that filled the air

Then the mortars started falling

And I said a silent prayer.

‘Keep moving.’ Cried the sergeant

‘We’ll soon have them on the run’

The bullets kept on coming

But we couldn’t see the hun.

I fell into a shell hole

On to another soldier there

‘I’m sorry mate’ I told him

But the soldier didn’t stir.

In the half light of morning

I looked into his face

But his open eyes did not look back

He was in a better place.

I took from his breast pocket

The letter all soldiers wrote,

The one that tells our families

We didn’t make the boat.

I opened up the letter

It was signed ‘with love from Sam’

And amid the raging battle

I read his letter to ‘Dear Mam’

‘I hope you’re keeping well’ he asked

‘And things are not to bad

What with me out here across the sea

And you must be missing Dad.

I wished I could have stayed behind

To help you through it all

But when I got the letter

I had to heed the call.

The Army‘s not a bad life Mam

Though the grub is not like home

But it keeps us up and running

So Ireally mustn’t moan.

How is aunty Sally? Has she

Heard from cousin Jack?

When you see her next Mam

Tell her we‘ll soon be coming back,

We’re pushing on tomorrow

To liberate the French

It will be good to be on the move again

If just to get out of this trench.

The artillery’s been busy

Shelling out the hun

The sergeant says they’ve bombed them out

Our war is nearly done.

So keep your chin up mother dear

And look towards the sea

One day soon you will see a ship

That ship will be bringing me

Back to dear old blighty

Back to my dear home

And I will never leave again Mam

Never again will you be alone.’

I finished reading his letter then

I tore it all apart

I couldn’t let his mother see it,

It would only break her heart.

I climbed out of that shell hole

And left the poor lad behind

But I knew that I would never

Get his young face out of my mind.

I made it through the battle

I made it through the war

But I never ever will forget

The horror that I saw

And I never will forget those boys

Those brave, brave men who died

They gave their lives to save ours

They didn’t run, they didn’t hide.

I was proud to serve beside them

They really were the best

And I always shall remember them

And wear a poppy on my chest.

We will remember them

-- Email your poetry to news@buryfreepress.co.uk or post it to: Poetry Please, Bury Free Press, King’s Road, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3ET.