That Crimson Petal ~ A Poem

In honour of Remembrance Day, I’ve written a poem.

Lest We Forget.

Close your eyes and hear my whistle.
Backs straight, sharp and brittle.

Listen boys, to every sound.
Keep those feet, light on the ground.

Leaving our home, this pitiful trench
To charge out there, amongst the stench.

Bodies rot upon the grass.
We can only wait for this to pass.

Limbs scattered, pressed into the mud.
We stumble forward, encrusted with blood.

Not of our own, but of our brothers.
Quick lads get down! Where are the others?

Nineteen I was, when we first came.
Never seen the sick or lame.

Now I lead you all to battle.
Into an abattoir like herds of cattle.

Bang! A shower of mud upon our heads
We think of the children, safe in their beds.

They are the reason we all plough on.
Every one, mother, daughter, son.

“Mum!” He screams, in tremendous pain.
Shaking in fear, we have nothing to gain.

Everything to lose, including our life.
All to end this ridiculous strife.

It’s not our war, our battle, our fight.
But we’re the ones forced to put it right.

We crawl on elbows, tired, dazed.
To the unknown, but we’re hardly fazed.

Our lives are not for us anymore,
To be shaken like this, to the very core.

Those poor sods, on the other end,
When we reach the enemy, round the bend.

Can’t we all go back to that day?
Christmas, football, we were here to play!

Criss cross and run, from every shell.
It’s true boys, we’ve all reached hell.

Grab his arm, drag him with us.
Stem the blood, no that’s pus!

Infected wounds, there’s only one way,
That leg, my boy, can no longer stay.

The screams are drowned amid the chaos,
As Medics work with tremendous pathos.

Dosing them up with the highest morphine,
It’s no use pretending we haven’t seen.

Keep it boys, to the back of your mind.
It’s for your own good, I’m being kind.

What day is it? I can no longer remember.
The eleventh you say, oh, of November!

Another morning I have seen through,
There were many of you, now there are few.

News from home, we’re about to end.
Sit down, we’ve got some wounds to tend.

Bring him here to say an ‘our father,’
Or wait in silence, if you’d rather.

Chin up lads, let’s keep going.
They’ll send more boys, we keep growing.

Now fix those bayonets and salute,
Travers stop playing that blasted flute!

Two more minutes and this will finish,
This hell boys, is about to diminish.

Right, we’re about to go over the top,
Nine, ten, eleven, stop!

Close your eyes and hear my whistle.
Backs straight, sharp and brittle.

Where have they gone? I can’t see.
Now I can finally think of me.

How to move on from all we’ve done?
There’s no answer, not a single one.

In Flanders Fields, there we all stand,
That Crimson petal, clutched in my hand.

© By Christina Alagaratnam


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