Friday, 1 July 2016

Meditation on the Somme

Time to pause and meditate:
In 1916 on this date
On a sunny day in Western France
Near the river Somme where rushes dance

Seven-thirty on July the First
From stillness to machine gun burst
En masse troops clambered o'er the top
To be cut down – like flies they drop.

Sad indictment of the Generals' course
To neutralize the German force
By bombarding lines for seven days
A failure – hidden in the haze...

On no day since or long before
Have casualties topped this harsh score
Thousands of young men in the mud
The spilling of a Nation's blood.

And all for what? A strip of land
Allegiances with hatred fanned
The League of Nations rose and fell;
In 1940 – more war Hell...

Since ECSA* and the Schuman pact
We thought we'd said goodbye to that
Europe has tried to stay together
Politically a tough endeavour.

Now the puzzle loses a key piece
Britain from Europe wants release
Like those soldiers poised upon the brink ...
What will new generations think?

(c) Poet in the woods 2016

*The European Coal and Steel Community

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