N - Survivors Of The Great War.
Soldiers awaiting departure,
by Gillian.E. Shaw
a kiss for mum, cherished goodbyes,
a trio of golden haired angels
despite their 'short back and sides'.
On receiving 'call up papers'
then certainly, they had to go:
to fight for King and country
to territory they didn't know.
Innocent, unable to question,
dutiful boys of their word
toughened at home by father who
was skilled in the art of his belt.
So, brothers calling for sister,
but a child of only five;
hidden high up in the rafters
of the barn in the yard outside.
Sitting there quietly listening
name called just like in a game;
call her for 'THE VERY LAST TIME! '
and call her once again.
For they really must be off now
and so had better make haste -
out of sight: she would detain them.
Unseen, perhaps they'd remain...
And after all fell silent
only then she really knew,
they'd gone away to be soldiers,
hands waving a fond farewell.
They didn't like to speak of it,
their experience of war, as
they smoked their 'fags' together
survivors one and all.
Thinking of 'Old England'.