On August 4th, the world would change
The Powers-that-Were sought to arrange
Alliances on separate sides
Then late in June an archduke dies.
Gavrilo Princip - an unknown name
Fired one shot - and shot to fame
The powder keg of war exploded
And several monarchies imploded.
Neutral Belgium was invaded
German soldiers soon paraded
Wreaking havoc on the way
To Brussels where they soon held sway.
They aimed to pass on through to France;
Dykes flooded, stopping their advance
What followed was four years of hell
Of trench life Sassoon wrote too well.
A hundred years right to the day
Old Europe started to decay
Death came to young men unprepared
For industrial killing – were they scared!
The flower of youth in mud expired
Because that single shot was fired...
Conscription meant no man was spared
Death came to many – so few cared.
A full four years before it ended
Some hearts and bodies never mended
The armistice bought scant relief
All Nations buried deep their grief.
Today huge cemeteries remain
Reminders stark of so much pain
The «Great» War? Consider if you can
Man's inhumanity to man.
(c) Poet in the woods 2014