They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
at the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The sun goes down in this tranquil place where it's hard
To imagine it was the scene of such hate:
For it was here in December of 44 that some of my comrades
Were about to die, whilst trying to end this Bloody war.
The sweat on my forehead and the tear in my eye,
Is for the fear and the sadness, as I struggle not to cry,
Why is it I can never forget, that I lived through it all
and I feel such regret, or is it just guilt at the Blood that was spilt.
Its not that I deserve to die, but there's never a day.
I don't want to cry, when my mind drifts back to this awful place.
Where my command had been sent to defend post haste.
We were dug in, in our foxholes deep in the woods,
Just trying to keep warm as best as we could,
For it was winter time and the snow was quite deep,
So cold in fact that you could hardly sleep.
It was difficult to celebrate christmas time whilst
Watching your friends die from stepping on a mine,
Where death and destruction became part of your day
and when night time fell to find time to pray.
The sound of the "Bullets "cracking all around
Or the "Boom "of the shells as they hit the ground,
The screams of men dying all around, then after
a while you couldn't hear a sound.
When the bombardments had finished we held it still,
Perhaps after all this was Gods will,
We'd done it and held on to Bloody Bastogne
No time to celebrate we weren't going back home;
There was still a war on and a job to be done
and many a mother would still lose her son
The war would end just five months later,
and the world breathed a sigh; it would be much safer
But the end of this war had not been with out cost
For millions of lives on both sides had been lost.
Now the years have gone by and I've returned to Bastogne
For many a good friend it became their last home,
Where would we be, would we be free;
Had they not fought so valiantly?
Their lives they gave; a premature grave, so that their loved
Ones dear could live without fear
and the trees that were blasted into nothing but splinters,
and then had to suffer the harshest of winters,
are now in full bloom with bright greens and yellows
and crops are ready for harvesting in meadows,
The cry of the men as they breathed their last,
are now resigned to a thing of the past,
and the birds now sing in a place so serene
That once was the sight of such awful scenes,
But the memories will last till my dying day
Of the price men here had to pay
To leave to the world a better place,
Where we can love one another instead of hate.
and as the sun sets behind the trees, Its time to take my final leave;
as I sit on the plane that takes me home a part of me will always be in BaSTOGNE
By Ken Smith
I'm 94 not much time have I left
But there's one thing I must do before that appointment with death.
To return to the battlefields of Y'pes and the Somme
and memories of comrades who have long since gone.
The ultimate sacrifice they had made, now the world
Only knows them as a name on a grave.
I've travelled so far from the place I call home
To spend a few moments looking down at these stones
Stones of marble so white and so cold
The soldiers beneath them never got to grow old.
For this is a place where the lost where found
and laid to rest beneath the ground.
Husbands, fathers and brothers too or are they
Simply a name someone knew.
The battlefields here are scattered all around
Now deathly quiet you can't hear a sound.
In 1914 many men were so keen to don the kharki
and serve god, king, and queen.
The pals battalion's they had been formed
Lie now in death, in rows all uniformed.
The whistle would sound then it was "Over the Top "
and one by one you would see men drop.
Barely a man made it back again alive.
Those who did their fear they could not hide
Shell shock or coward it mattered not to me
For the awful sight's we had to see.
The blood turned to mud from the constant rain.
as men lay dying in terrible pain.
"Mother "they cried as they fought not to die
With arms out stretched pointing up to the sky.
" War" is evil so many men lost, it's the man in the
Street who pays the cost.
Politicians bang the drum.Then hide in the shadows
Till their war as been done.
When the guns they finally fell still.
and I can still feel that chill that runs up my spine
I had lived through it all, and I was still alive.
When the soldiers went home they were never the same
Some would be diagnosed as being insane.
Broken and bitter men turned to drink, to get rid
Of the nightmares was all they could think.
The last post sounds at the menin gate to remind
The world of these poor men's fate.
Every year in November people gather to remember
The souls that were lost and how families paid the cost.
Thousands of widows mourn, on that bleak winter's dawn.
"We will remember them" the pledge is made
Whilst poppies are placed on men's graves.
The British legion makes sure of that as old comrades
Stand silent and remove their caps.
as they stand quiet, still, with backs ramrod straight.
Their minds drift back to their friends and their fate.
and the tears roll down the cheeks of the few.
For the remains of their comrades who were never found too
Then they pray to god that never again
Must generations of our young men be slain?
For a world full of peace, is that to much to ask,
Or isn't man committed to fulfil this task.
and they raise their hands and salute the brave
For the world to save, their young lives they gave
and I turn and walk slowly away, I know in my heart
We will meet again. Some day.
By Ken Smith
In Flanders Fields where the Red Poppies grow,
a river of blood from our young men did flow.
Killed by a sniper or whistling shell, who sent those
young men to their death in that infernal Hell?
It was the Field Marshall on his white horse, with
his field glasses, who was planning the battle of course.
But he made several errors, but the greatest of all
were down on the Somme where more than a million young.
Men went to the wall
The men who were left when the battle was through
were told a land fit for heroes is waiting for you.
But when they got home they found that not true
all they had got was a soup kitchen and a long dole queue.
Now let's spare a thought for the widows alone,
who have to go out to work to secure their home,
keep a roof over their heads, and look after their children to
see they are clothed and fed.
The young, men of Flanders won't be forgotten by
me, they'll live forever in my memory,
Not November I 1 but all the year through, I'll think
of them forever '61 I fade away too.
by William Ellis
Fields of white stones standing in hundreds of rows
These fields where nothing but our remembrance grows
The years have passed by and these stones still stand
For all the poor souls lost that never returned to our land
Fields now stand silent and peaceful for ever more
Our long lost loved ones, never to come back to our door
The moon rises and the stone shadows sink into the earth
To comfort those lying there who had proved their worth
and when the sun rises their spirits will again soar
as we look at these white stones and bless them forever more
Fields never intended to bury the loss of a terrible war
They should be growing and grazing that's what they are for
as the long years are flying past, of our lost loved ones
Our thoughts will be forever in the fields of white stones
by John Houghton
Hard cold marble stands where life has departed
This a by product of a war that was started
Faceless names cut in stone, eroded by wind, by hard driven rain
No memories of this man, no meaning for a life taken in vain
He did it for you! For his country! For his King!
a fatherless family, a dastardly thing
"Over the top lads, lets get em" Out goes the cry
War weary he mumbles "This day I shall die"
Thoughts of his loved ones, his kids and his lass
Lungs strain," There's no air! Oh God not the gas!"
Bloody fingers claw mud, the panic has set in
No thought now for loved ones, no thought now of kin
Bullets tear flesh, khaki turning to red
So many lives stolen, so many lie dead
Did this war set him free? Make his future most bright
Did it right all those wrongs, so no need again to fight
Marble stones hold that answer, they stand row on row
come take a look where the Poppies still grow
by Rod Birch 2003
comrade my comrade
Our fearful task is done
The battle flags are furled
at last the peace we fought is won
The bells ring out a joyous peal
The bonfires on the hill
Far over the sea its message send of gladness
and goodwill. comrade my comrade
The battle din is over
come join the memory
The merry laughing throng
That crowds the banquet floor
The friends of old
Your comrades kind
Your sweethearts fair and true
With faithful hearts
Through all these years
are waiting there for you.
comrade my comrade
awake and hear the bells
For you the laurel wreath entwined
For you the music swells
Oh God he cannot answer me
His lips are cold and still
For he lies deep in endless sleep
Beneath a vine clad hill
by Private a. H. Waterman
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by John Mccrae
On the 11th day of the 11th month
at the 11th hour
a million prayers will rise into the air
a million tears shed by those who care
We shall not forget those who died
For them we wear our poppies with pride
My body it will give up all my tears
For all those who can't cry for me
Their death for us was in their victory
They died that you and i would be free
So once every year a tear I will weep
In remembrance of the men who sleep
Some whom do not know they're gone
In death they still keep marching on
Bravely hearing their countries cry
They rallied every man, woman and boy
Willing to fight unto the last man
To defeat the enemy was their plan
Two world wars and it still went on
Before soldiers fears were over come
The enemy was defeated they had lost
The price both sides had paid the cost
Families scattered as a proud nation
Peace brought happy hugs of jubilation
Time for all the people, now to move on
Victory was theirs the battle was won
So when it comes around to November
To wear your poppy always remember
Because I shall tell the reason why
Freedoms price? Meant men had to die
by Reg Horton
a Poem from the First World War
To My Unborn Baby
(Somewhere In France – June 1944)
Knowing not this world of hell
Seeing not this wanton strife
Hearing not this shot or shell
Knowing not this earthly life
Oh! Rest awhile my Little One
Keep your eyes closed tight
Till the day of hell is gone
and mankind sees the light
I pray for you my Little One
To know not days like these
Where hatred reigns and love is gone
and the devil rides the breeze
Oh! Sleep tight my Little One
In your Mommy’s womb
Till God rules all and man looks on
and Victory’s not a tomb!
Walter George Edmonds