MS (9th December Nineteen Fifty / Tiglin, Wicklow, Ireland)

Verdun, Return

A letter came today…
He is coming home.
How long has it been…
Three years…nearly four…
We remember the day
he left. We took
the pony and trap to
Gorman’s Bridge.
Not a real station,
a temporary halt to serve
the boys and men
who volunteered.
The sun shone, flags waved,
crowds cheered, and
the troops sang “Tipperary”.
Sweethearts cried and
kissed, and cried again.
Whistles blew, the train
belched black and sooty,
omen like, on that sad dark
day of false fervour.

Innocence left that day in
a second class compartment.
It’s a long long way, too
far, for King and Country,
for some that kissed that day
will never kiss again

Now he is coming home.
And we will kiss not once but
many times, a trainload of kisses.
For those with no return ticket



Martin Swords
May 2008
Wicklow Writers




Exercise, all given same first line and a choice of picture, in this case a steam train.

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Comments (1)

Vividly painted with the dark, black sooty smoke - an omen indeed - and the false fervour incited in the innocent minds - so meaningful a verse needs to be brought to a wider audience Martin - and the terse presentation and the length is so very right...... Fay., - - - and thank you for inviting me to read this one...