Peaceful are the water lilies in flower
The ripples of contentment belong to the fish
and quiet is the grass that has healed this scene.
Lone tree crater is a ghost from the past
and it is here where God and Devil,
did put their differences aside.
To shed tears for man’s insanity.
The year is 1917
and life and death is measured
in corpses left behind on land now forgotten.
This crater born one of 19,
its first cry ordained in 445 tons of explosives.
A mythical being stamping each footstep
across the Messines Ridge,
silencing life in its wake.
A roar of death that can be seen by all,
troops are but wild animals caught in the headlight of its gaze,
helpless and forsaken with nowhere to run.
10,000 Germans with no grave,
their bodies vaporised.
Delivered by blue clay tunnel
Under the lines by British miners brave.
Though German pride would disagree.
Up above the mortars creep a relentless path
and down the ridge the British are advancing.
But they are mortal men
and their bodies are but eggs thrown against steel.
Death is all around this day.
But in this war death is every day,
survival feeds on primal being.
Kill and kill again, he who falls short will die.
Reward lies in darkened sky under the stars
and a billet lined with mud
But death will not let the soldiers rest
and medals of tin will not protect.
Be glad of cigarette to calm the nerves,
be glad of letters from home,
for these are the memories of life.
And sanity dictates that all men are born to die,
this death that is inevitable,
allows these soldiers a few precious seconds
to realise a truth.
It is the Earth that owns the man.
The will of man cannot steal this.
And as the soldier falls their allegiance grows dark
another lover’s heart is broke
Mother’s womb will cry alone
while children’s hands hold on to father’s gift
for he cannot hug them anymore.
Choice was never theirs.
For choice is what masters give
and freedom has evaporated from soldiers mind,
While the lies of democracy fuels these bourgeoisie plans,
for power is everything.
Wars are made by so few a number.
Fear the man, who can inspire a country to kill millions,
and fear the man, who has found religion,
for your bullets can only add to his glory.
Messines Ridge twelve hours of bloody Glory and 50,000 dead
This smell of decay is a reminder to the living
Less they forget their duty to life.
And what of the 10,000
Who left their bones on their last step of mortality?
To wander this earth without a grave.
The bones of the elephant will always be loved
Can we say the same by them?
History has left us these waves of white marble,
proudly keeping the ranks of the dead in line.
Their ghosts are ready to march again
and in the rear the new recruits volunteer,
for war will always be with us.
Underneath every headstone there is a story.
Their colour and culture has melted away.
In death we reconcile our sins with mother earth,
war becomes irrelevant
and perhaps we are too.
But for those who believe
a life without memories has only just begun,
their pain has floated away.
The tears of the families will flow out to sea
and the rain will wash these stones
for the light will always win.
The youth of 1914 braved the dark,
obeyed the voice of country.
Brief was their time on earth
and silence was a glory that these men did not hear.
In death calm now descends upon their memories.
and we who tender their graves,
shall keep their story alive.
For we will remember them.
Wir warden uns an sie erinnern.
© Copyright 2016 steven cooke. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Other
Short Story / Historical Fiction
Short Story / War and Military
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