Without Just Cause.
My maiden aunt had little chance.
Because the man she was to wed
Was one of those who fell in France
listed as missing presumed dead.
Her happiness a casualty
which never figured in the news
She had to face reality
a future which she did not choose.
She was condemned to life alone
Because so many young men died
all chance of motherhood was gone.
She bore her fate with stoic pride.
She helped to raise her sister’s brood.
Her husband too unfit to go.
She mothered them as best she could
the only joy she’d ever know.
She was a treasure left unclaimed
a mother she would never be.
Only the Great War could be blamed
for many women’s misery.
She lived to see a ripe old age.
She died in nineteen forty one
just long enough to see the stage
prepared for another one.
Another war to end all wars
Just as the first Great War had been.
To her it was a hopeless cause
she saw the slaughter as obscene.
Young men will answer to the call
but womenfolk are left behind
To mourn their menfolk when they fall
A fate that’s very far from kind.
I think that she was glad to go
she knew from hard experience.
What other girls would come to know
when sorrow takes up residence.