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Where are the boys - A poem for Remembrance Sunday

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Old 11-09-2017, 02:43 AM   #1
Niggs
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Default Where are the boys - A poem for Remembrance Sunday

WHERE ARE THE BOYS


Where are the boys

The looms are still
silent are forge, factory and mill.
No ale is pulled
no crying infant by father lulled.
The piano is mute
unworn the Sunday best suit.

To breathe this air is to breathe sorrow
and the tears, behind doors, in the quiet
run like rapids, wetting worn photographs
that say there is no together, tomorrow.

Where are the boys

Gone across the cold water
gone from mother, wife and daughter
for war, as seed to sow,
from which the poppy will ever grow,
across the verdant field
to mark where youth to death did yield

They now lie under stark white stone
in strange earth that is not of England
in rows, neat and tidy above the ground
while beneath all are tatters and bone.

Where are the boys

In the town square
on the plaque over there,
that left behind tin
with his tobacco still within
and the flat cap
hung on the nail by the tap.

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Last edited by Niggs; 11-09-2017 at 02:44 AM. Reason: picture
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:55 AM   #2
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War; the ultimate sacrifice....Not only by those who lay under white stone; but those left behind to mourn. A sad picture is painted...
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Old 11-09-2017, 01:30 PM   #3
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War; the ultimate sacrifice....Not only by those who lay under white stone; but those left behind to mourn. A sad picture is painted...
Indeed Gerry,

I wanted to de-militarize, as much as is possible given the subject, this piece and focus on the long term effects of 'wounds unseen', the devastated lives of those who may never hear a shot fired, that are casualties too.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:11 PM   #4
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Nigel,
You certainly accomplished all of the above.

I did oil paintings (self taught) some time ago. I think that may be what has drawn me to the "visuals" early on in your poetry.

Thank you for sharing.

Gerry
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Old 11-10-2017, 01:39 AM   #5
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My Grandfather served in WW1 (my father in WW11). Grandpa was stricken with illness from the trenches in 1917 & transferred from one camp to another to another.... We have the telegraphs kept in the family bible stating first he was reported as missing in action, feared dead. A subsequent telegraph reported he was found - severely ill & unlikely to survive. Further letters and telegraphs are also stored by "the Turner mob" & preserved on line for all time, another telepgraph reported his health remained severely poor - survival unlikely, and finally out of the blue a telegraph reporting his health had turned and recovery likely. We also have copies of telegraph exchanges & letters from my great grandfather a well respected veteran of the Boar war to the "war office" as my father referred to it (& later still fondly called my mother) where at his behest a search was made and my grandfather found.

My grandfather signed up again for WW11 in March 1943, I was only looking the detail up this week so my brother could add detail to the family bible. We lost many family members in the Great War. Those who survived to come home suffered great guilt, but it was never spoken of, same with WW11, my dad never spoke of what he saw, experienced.

My Aunt (lifelong family friend called Aunty) who passed recently, at the funeral we talked of her father and then step father how both had returned from War & how badly it affected them, ultimately both were changed men. One, the quiet young man who left came back & before long a raging violent alcoholic who soon terrorised his family. Now of course we know it will have been PTSD but in those days it was not talked about, seen as a burden or blight on the family. He died of his own hand. The stepfather only to become the same.

Yes remeberance day provokes much thought. I'm proud to know the poem in Flanders field and wear a poppy every year. My Brother in Law sent me photos last week of Caerphilly with poppies everywhere on street corners, places of importance and even homes in general.
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:20 AM   #6
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My Grandfather served in WW1 (my father in WW11). Grandpa was stricken with illness from the trenches in 1917 & transferred from one camp to another to another.... We have the telegraphs kept in the family bible stating first he was reported as missing in action, feared dead. A subsequent telegraph reported he was found - severely ill & unlikely to survive. Further letters and telegraphs are also stored by "the Turner mob" & preserved on line for all time, another telepgraph reported his health remained severely poor - survival unlikely, and finally out of the blue a telegraph reporting his health had turned and recovery likely. We also have copies of telegraph exchanges & letters from my great grandfather a well respected veteran of the Boar war to the "war office" as my father referred to it (& later still fondly called my mother) where at his behest a search was made and my grandfather found.

My grandfather signed up again for WW11 in March 1943, I was only looking the detail up this week so my brother could add detail to the family bible. We lost many family members in the Great War. Those who survived to come home suffered great guilt, but it was never spoken of, same with WW11, my dad never spoke of what he saw, experienced.

My Aunt (lifelong family friend called Aunty) who passed recently, at the funeral we talked of her father and then step father how both had returned from War & how badly it affected them, ultimately both were changed men. One, the quiet young man who left came back & before long a raging violent alcoholic who soon terrorised his family. Now of course we know it will have been PTSD but in those days it was not talked about, seen as a burden or blight on the family. He died of his own hand. The stepfather only to become the same.

Yes remeberance day provokes much thought. I'm proud to know the poem in Flanders field and wear a poppy every year. My Brother in Law sent me photos last week of Caerphilly with poppies everywhere on street corners, places of importance and even homes in general.
Thank you for sharing this Pamela, my folks perished in the 'Pals' battalions on the first day of the Somme.
I remember reading that more men have died by their own hand Post Falklands than by enemy action during............and so it goes on.
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Old 11-10-2017, 04:30 AM   #7
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deep

For story tellers, you can go to Episode on the app store. I relax by doing that, among other things.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:19 AM   #8
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War, the big money machine. I recall somone saying to me war seems to come along every 10 or so years. At first I was sceptical it seems they had the gist of things, WW1, WW11, Korean War, Cambodian Civil War, Vietnam War, "The Cold War" Iran - Iraq war, Falklands war, Afghanistan war, The Gulf War, Croatian war of independence, Sierra Leone, Algerian civil war, Somali civil war, Afghanistan war (again), Bosnian war, Nepalese civil war, Al Qaeda, Chechen war, War on terror, Afghanistan again, Taliban Insurgency. Probably there are many more but these are ones I know of through various friends, family members etc, and I've not even mentioned those that occurred before WW1. Yes you would think we would have learned the lessons of loss of life and yet here we are with DJT and KJU .... we send our young off to fight these wars, my nephew now 26 is brain damaged for life, blown up not once but twice, joined up at 17, medical discharge at 23. Best friend died alongside him. He will never live a normal life, triggered by so many things, at times since even his brother and father have been in fear OF him. We all fear FOR him.

Sorry for rambling. Must be the drugs again while I'm back here in hospital.

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Thank you for sharing this Pamela, my folks perished in the 'Pals' battalions on the first day of the Somme.
I remember reading that more men have died by their own hand Post Falklands than by enemy action during............and so it goes on.
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Last edited by PamelaJune; 11-10-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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