Each year since I joined the John Lyon School I have run a competition in Year 9 for Remembrance Poetry. The boys are working on poetry and Journey’s End during the term and it seems a fitting opportunity to link the course with the events around Armistice Day.
This year, the winning poem is by Patrick:
As we relax in our home, nearly 100 years on,
We will never really know what really went on,
As men were sent pointlessly over the top
And on the big cities the bombs did drop
People were running, crying, dying,
Soldiers were giving it everything, trying,
But as we relax all alone 100 years on
We will never quite know, what really went on.
Soldiers in trenches, surrounded by mud,
As all around them men died in cold blood,
And the silence and tension made men less brave,
As officers led their privates to temporary mass graves
They are remembered with a church service and pillar
But is this publicity just one big painkiller?
But while we relax in our homes, nearly 100 years on
We will never fully know, wheat really went on
‘We will get there in the end’, is what the commander said,
While in no man’s land, hundreds lay dead,
These men were chess pieces in an oversized game,
A game of life, war and death, not nearly the same,
The officers, they didn’t really care
About all the pawns, or any of their welfare
But as we sit at home, 100 years on,
We will never quite know what really went on.
So as we sit in church, and listen to the last stand
As the scouts parade, maybe a marching band,
Does it really mean anything, celebrating the many, not the few?
As the congregation stand, in their pew,
Everyone is solemn, they think they understand,
But if it happened to them, they probably wouldn’t withstand,
So as we listen to a service, 100 years on,
We will never really know, what really went on.