So the following updated version has been shortlisted for my school's poetry competition... I thought I'd just share it with you:
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 the dazzling dark of nothing,
Though empty and obscure,
Held secrets, hopes and endings:
Our challenge to endure.
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 raced across the uneven ground,
Under the blinding sun.
We fell in turn so quickly,
Shot down by a gun.
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?
Those unlucky men,
Tortured each day and night.
Hollowed out by hatred,
Forgetting the existence of love.
We, however, are long forgotten.
Nothing but names carved in stone.
Our families live on without us
But we do not live on without them.
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.