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