What Can We Say

The night her sable wings has spread
across this city of the dead.
The silver moon light shimmering
upon white gravestones glimmering.

The rows of headstones on parade
recall the sacrifices made.
By those whose bones lie here at rest.
Some old some young who did their best.

Their country called they volunteered
to defend freedom it appeared.
From field and factory they came
but death would treat them all the same.

Young labourers and artisans
were all included in the plans
of generals who seldom knew
that they were asking men to do

tasks which were barely possible.
They proved themselves incapable
of showing flexibility.
Repeating mistakes constantly.

Advance, retreat advance again.
The price was high for little gain.
A hundred yards or perhaps two
of shell pocked mud which stuck like glue.

Behind the lines the big guns roared
adding more bodies to the hoard
too many to enumerate.
Who had already met their fate.

The general staff still held the view
that there was nothing else to do
but bombard with artillery
and then send in the infantry.

Their hide bound minds were tightly closed
to any new tactic proposed
Thanks to the way that they were taught.
The correct way wars should be fought.

It took four years to recognise
it was a futile exercise.
Although we claimed the victory
I’m not too sure that I agree..

Every war grave cemetery
though mute still speaks eloquently.
The price of war is far too high.
What can we answer in reply?


by ivor or ivor.e hogg

Comments (2)

Ivor, fantastic poem. The ultimate futility of war indeed. Great work here. Cheers Anita
A very moving piece, eloquently stated. Certainly, there are victories in war, but there's always enough loss to go around for everybody, on all sides. As always, you have penned an excellent poem. Thanks Richard