War Poems


Fields of Green


As summer left without a trace

There’s nothing left to mark the place

Where soldier fell and soldier died

Where nature heals and nature hides


Burnt earth and stubbled furrow

Hides the former cries of sorrow

Green shoots will emerge in spring

And fieldfares like trumpets sing


Until then the mists will form

Swirling like that fateful dawn

When young men and drummer boys fell

To the sounds of deepest hell


As the mist begins to clear

Sometimes if listening carefully one might hear

A distant battle cry of dread and fear

While a church bell tolls forever near


Brave men hidden on foreign soil

There’s nothing left to mark their toil

But nature has a way to repay

By creating fields of green, where brave men lay



Ghost Town


There is a city of silent souls

Where the wind blows with bitter cold

And the pavement is stained with the blood of men

Will there ever be freedom again


The walls are peppered with penetrative holes

And propaganda denouncing their roles

There is a mean streak as you walk down alleys

A place to walk past and not to dally


Burnt out cars on their backs

And debris from mortar attacks

Dereliction is left in its place

All signs of life have disappeared without trace


Graffiti on stanchions in blue and in red

And the crunched up glass where the last vehicle fled

The dappled light on shades of grey

Where the shadows of hero’s once laid


Traffic lights stuck on red

The tar macadam melted and bled

Blood spotted posters on walls that haunt the street

Remnants of riffles after a rapid retreat


Overturned buses like whales dead on a beach

Streetlights that dangle just out of reach

Churches with bell towers where nobody sings

Clock towers with clocks that no longer ring


Crossroads with road signs that point to the sky

The eerie vultures and scavengers cry

The reports on the news that seek to explain why

While politicians step up to distance themselves and deny




Bernie Drinkwater


Bernie Drinkwater lived by the sea

With his wife and his family

He worked hard with his beautiful wife

He volunteered to risk his life


He marched to the port, rifle in hand

And caught a ship to foreign lands

He didn’t know what to expect

Wanting to be brave without regret


He dug deep in a muddy trench

And hunkered down with his new found friends

Bullets flew overhead

With just a tin hat to protect his head


He stayed strong for days on end

Trusting his superiors and fellow men

Fatigue and lack of sleep

With cold penetrating his boots and hurting his feet


Finally, the order to march

Then a shout, then a charge

Guns and cannons firing at the hill

Taking the advantage and then in for the kill


The sky was red with fire filled smoke

A carbonised char of an enemy post

A burnt out shell, no sign of men

They’ve all retreated to fight again


Time to rest and write a note

To his beloved family back home

‘I’ve survived this one today, so that’s another ticked off

let’s hope it stops before I’ve had my lot’


Bernie Drinkwater’s buried by the sea

With a plaque from his family

The bravest man we ever knew

Looks out to sea, to enjoy the view


They Marched in Rows


She lays the flowers on the grave of her fallen soldier brave

She hears the distant drums of the soldiers at the front

And in her pocket she squeezes tight a lock of hair

From the head of her young soldier fair


Her eyes show signs of her age

It’s been many years since her soldier past away

In her memory she sees him as clear as day

As she waved her soldier boy away


          They marched in rows

          They marched in tune

          Their buttons gleamed

          Their bayonets glistened


          With passion for tomorrows dawn

          Their eyes with expectation shone

          Their hearts with loyalty they burned

          They all expected to return



She stood in memory as the rain began to fall

As it did in France where the young men stood tall

A tear developed and tracked down the lines in her face

And she delicately wiped it away, leaving no trace


          They marched in rows

          They marched in tune

          Their buttons gleamed

          Their bayonets glistened


          Their eyes with expectation shone

          With passion for tomorrows dawn

          Their hearts with loyalty they burned

          They all expected to return


She tends the flowers ever day

And as she turns to walk away

She gives a final glance as if to say

We will be re-united one glorious day



Sitting in a Tin Can


Sitting in a tin can

Waiting for a delayed, muffled bang

Carrying the hopes and responsibilities

Of every man, woman and child


It’s like buying a ticket in a raffle

Each time though, you hope your number is not picked

The terror, the fright, the anguish and the sweat

Hoping this time you will not get wet


If you have to meet your maker

Please God make it swift and clean

No prolonged periods of torment

And suffering for your King and Queen


Comrades shaking quite profusely

Even the experienced men had beads of sweat

Pooling on their foreheads and dripping

Slowly onto blue stained naval tunics


The last thing any of them wanted

When they signed up to form a crew

Was to play Russian roulette with their lives

With someone unseen pulling on the trigger


The tin can made by men from Harland and Wolfe in Belfast

Sat in motionless suspension

As if weighted by pebbles from beside the ponds edge

Just invisible enough to let their foe pass ahead


This time their number had not been drawn

But their nerves were tattered and torn

Re-birth, rejoiced for a moment only

They collected their thoughts and continued their North Atlantic journey


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