This is inspired by my recent History trip across Belgium and France visiting World War I memorials to commemorate the centenary of World War One.


1. Missing

There is a place where birds never fly,
Where the wind always whistles with sorrow. 
This is the place we are destined to stay,
For we know no other tomorrow. 

A long time ago we were given
The bright fields of hell to defend. 
The shells leapt at our feet and
Bullets kept looking for heartbeats to end. 

But still we looked out into the dazzling dark
Of nothing. And yet all that land
Was our resting place - I think we knew,
But not enough to ever understand. 

Just a few words had to be said
For all the men to be claimed.   
Just one day in July was all it took
For nothing to be gained. 

We prayed for the wasteful rush ahead,
One wave, the next, none prepared. 
And so it went and at last I stood
Behind my comrades despaired. 

We walked through the golden sunlight,
The shining light than shone all day,
As if to say that it isn't as you thought,
It's not all dark and grey. 

We all would've gone home if we could
Choose of our own free will. 
If only the wire didn't bar the way
And relentless rifles didn't kill. 

They say now that only one in ten died. 
Then if ten of us never breathed again
Did ninety elsewhere survive?

Maybe some went home still sane. 
Maybe they saw the grinning girls
Cheering by the station. 

Such unlucky men,
Seeing terrors each day and night. 
Such pointless torture
To leave them hollow inside. 

We, however, are long forgotten. 
We are nothing but names carved in stone. 
Our families live on without us 
But we do not live on without them. 

No evil will ever match what we have seen
And no sight shall ever replicate its scars. 
It was the end of humanity in us,
The end of our being. 

It all ended with a mouthful of rum,
Our toast to our pointless sacrifice. 
We are the gifted, educated dead. 
But you will know us better as:
The Missing of the Somme.

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