World War One - War Reflections -

I got this picture when I visited the Somme Battlefields and the Thiepval Memorial in August 2014.

The old soldier's internal thoughts are in italics.

War Reflections - Sonnets

Thinking - the grandson…

I feel sad for him sitting there alone
Looking at the photos of past campaigns
Trying to remember faces now unknown,
trying so hard to rack his dear old brain.
He fought for youth in two world wars he said
The first and second ones are all I know
We fought for you, for freedom and we led
our soldiers to war, we never said no.
I see his medals on their bar, the three
 polished and shiny now, what are they for?
Sometime soon, he will pass them down to me
timeless reminders fighting in a war.
            I hoped wed have more than this time to look
            At memories and lives lived in his books


Internal reflection…the old soldier

I’m an old man now and I rest in this chair
with my thoughts on past life, and wondering where
old comrades went and the wars we  fought.
I read my old diaries and then I thought
where are they now, but I know in my fading brain,
I‘ll never see my old soldier pals again.
Looking at photos with aged rheumy eyes,
I think what a waste of all those young lives.

WW l – Sonnet ( Earth & Fire)

Through earth and thick mud, on stomachs we trawled
alien worms writhing gasping for air.
Sopping wet, bloodied, trip wired, on we crawled,
hammered by hell, why the fuck were we there?
Face down in mire, shit, and blood, thuds we heard,
bullets whizzed fast past, we kept our heads down.
Booming bombs blasted, far horizons blurred,
fire torn bodies, choking fumes, some men drowned.
We battled hard with all the strength we could,
youth lost its future but never did yield
Live fire rained down on dead lying in mud,
their souls rose to the Elysian field.
My mates and me were just some of the few
who were called to battle in World War Two.

On some days I thought about the politicians,
who start all these wars with their stupid ambitions.
No thought for the lives that will be lost in the fight,
they care only that they are the one who is right.
I lie in my bed, hear the clock ticking loud
Saying times nearly up, but we fought and were proud.

Diana Leighton Copyright 2015

Tribute to the fallen on the Somme

Great Granda Will Groves (on the left)on the battlefields of the Somme. He was 25 in this picture. he died of mustard gas poisoning
 They're Still out there Y'Know

They’re still out there y’know;
In the fields.
Where cold, dark clods of
earth press ‘em further down.
In winter, you can see their fingernails
Reaching above ground
Like corn mouldering
in the damp - each stalk
chopped and sliced off
in its prime
by the machine
that needed whole fields of fodder to
feed the warring leaders
and masses left behind

Tommy’s still out there y’know;
With his friends and like the corn
Were mown down in a hail of
sharp steel and left to rot
in the darkness of time
but without the green shoots
feeling the sun through his roots.
To regenerate

Tommy’s not out there y’know
Well one less to count.
The plough sloughed him up
And they took him away
He still had is ID dog tag and tin
Of fags, baccy and biscuits
which wished him
‘A merry Christmas’
Now not missing in action
But DNA’d, processed
Reconnected, handed over
To be mourned and celebrated
And talked about.
Press cuttings and gazettes,
Replacement medals all placed
in the tin which
wished him’ Merry Christmas’
He has a name but it isn’t Tommy.

There’s one less Tommy out there y’know…