Schoolboys In 1939

Once I saw a black & white photo
taken by a Japanese tourist
of London schoolboys
walking briskly to grammar school.

No planes over London yet,
although German troops were blitzing
through Poland that September afternoon,
and Warsaw schoolboys were
running pellmell to bomb shelters,
Jew and Christian alike.

Grainy photos taken on Polish soil
by news photographers
were of victims dead and dying.
The photo of English schoolboys
was of victims yet to be!

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Comments (8)

A very moving poem by a poet of merit
Dear Michael, I know a schoolboy who was in the Warsaw ghetto.. his father was killed.. his mother and he were separated .. he was taken to an Italian orphanage.. Years later, wanting to continue making a more compassionate world he founded the Meatout His name is Alex Hershaft meatout.dot org
Your poem is a 1939 photo, not just of schoolboys in London and Poland. You give us, in well chosen compressed words, a photo of Spetember in 1939. The tension is created by comparing the two cities. Thr appeasement policy of the Munich Pact was as ineffective in stopping the Gernans as the Maginot Line. You don't have to say Germany invaded Poland September 1,1939. Your 'photo' does an effective and poetic job. Tom
different prospects in different places yet all would be involved in the slaughter sooner or later. I was a schoolboy in 1939 too young to understand what it meant when we declared war on Germany but I soon learnt Tyneside was a favourite target for the German Bombers
Well done, Dan. A real sense of foreboding... Don
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