Each year we run a competition in Year 9 to write a Remembrance Poem. The boys are reading WW1 literature -a range of poems and Journey’s End as stimulus. The idea is that they write their poems without seeking help and I publish the winning poem, as well as awarding a prize in school.
This is the winning poem this year. Andrew in Y9 has also added his brief note about his thought process:
“Cretinous boy,” growled Mother as she gripped
That fateful telegram, slowly releasing her rage,
Her melancholic rage. “Why, why must he abandon
The idyllic dream that waited for him, to smite a few
Germans?” She bowed her head, stifling a choke,
While she saw him bound across a wasteland,
Giddy in the head, firing confetti for bullets,
Only to be sent to sleep forever in a flooded hole in France.
“Now, now dear,” replied Father glibly.
“He fought for King and country. Let us praise him.”
He slunk back in his rocking chair, and stared
Out of the window, and visualised his courageous child.
Leaping, darting, weaving, shooting,
He dashed through Death’s land and tried
To be a hero, a name to be remembered. It was truly
A shame that the barbed wire wrestled him, and won.
The Colonel laid back and sighed.
He felt pitiful for the lad, who had so much potential,
But the journey was treacherous, no doubt.
So it was hardly his fault when he slipped and fell
Into the quagmire and sank out of sight.
His final memory was a field of brown,
His last words a hideous gargle.
I got the inspiration for this poem from Siegfried Sassoon’s poem ‘The Hero’, because it looks at the different opinions of certain people about a dead soldier, so that was what I wanted to achieve.
Some of my ideas came from the views of war at the time, so I thought that it would be a clever idea to have one of the voices be of a pacifist who thinks that war is violent and unnecessary rather than glorious and poetic. A good twist at the end of the soldier drowning before he reached the front line would also show the terrible conditions of the war.