First And Last Together

First and Last Together

Lost and found:
the town of Mons.
This land was stolen
at the start of war.

Private John Parr
was the first to fill
the crater canyon soil.
His gravestone
gave him
an extra three years:
but he was only seventeen.

Facing him;
one million later,
on the final day
of pointless war,
is the last Tommie
to die in action:
George Edwin Ellison.

An armistice
could have
saved John,
but George
died in waiting;
ninety minutes
before the final
whistle blew.

In cruel irony,
just like the town;
the war began
and ended here
for George Ellison.

To have survived
the politicians' game,
just to be called
before the end,
is cruel
by any measure.

The first and last

by Martin Ward

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