Thursday, January 14, 2010


one more for the road

a found poem

Other wars have happened since.

Only when they passed 100
under gentle nudging
did they break their silence

The words tumbled out then

Mr. Allingham misstepped
into the vile hole
where he could feel
against his groping hands
the floating carcasses
of rats and parts
of human bodies

Mr. Patch in his nursing home
saw the linen cupboard light
flash on

and cried out

He thought it was the shell
that killed three of his mates
leaving nothing to find
and had sent into his abdomen
a jagged chunk of shrapnel

cut out
without anaesthetic
four men holding him down

Both men remembered the mud

sticky gluey mud
mud crusted with blood

in which men and horses drowned

In old age he visited the battlefield
now tided and grassed over
staring out from his wheelchair
he murmured

Mud. Mud. Mud.

Found in From Memory to History in the 17 December 2009 issue of the Economist, concerning the deaths of the last two surviving veterans of WWI.

1 comment:

karigee said...

I loved that article, and this is a welcome remembrance. Thank you.

Related Posts with Thumbnails