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 we’d 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