a poem by Stephen John Morrow, UK

September 15/1915
So it’s off to war!
By they were glad
Singing and whistling a tune every lad
With a swing of their arms and a smile on their lips
And a shine in their eyes
For the gals in white slips
So it’s down to the station
To board for the front
With a hiss and a whistle
A pull and a shunt
Just one last look
With a tear in their eye
We will be home for Christmas
So no need to cry
The Germans can’t shoot straight
Their bullets are rubber
So hold your tears girl
There is no need to blubber


So we will dig our own trenches
And sleep in the mud
The weather’s quite cold
And the food’s not that good
Sarge blows a whistle
And over we go
One at a time or all in a row
The noise is quite deafening
The bullets whiz by
A strange sort of noise hearing men die
Some they go quickly with not even a whimper
Some take all night caught in the moons
Trapped in the wire, trod in the mud
Guts lay beside them leaking life’s blood.
Screams and cry’s they cut through the cold night air
To end your life this way just don’t seem fair

So I lay in my trench hands over my ears
The rain on my face hiding my tears
While somebody’s father somebody’s son
Somebody’s sweetheart
Who’s life’s just begun
Pleads for his mother to stop his pain
And hold him in her arms
Just once again
But she will never hear
Her boys last request
She will never again see his boyish zest
She will never hold him in her arms again
Or ruffle his hair or soothe his pain

‘Whistle Whistle‘
Well there’s no time to day dream
And no time to dither
‘Cause the Sergeant is calling
And so through the mud we must slither
Over the top keep your head down
Try not to trod on those laying down
Past little Jimmy stuck on the fence
This bloody war don’t make any sense
I feel a slight tingle running down my spine
My legs are numb they don’t feel like mine
Its all going dark now
I am feeling quite queer

Feel really tired but mam will soon be here
To tuck me in and ruffle my hair
And tell me a story about ‘Rabbit Brier’
Lights fading fast now
Time to sleep
Good night sweet Jesus
My soul pray you keep

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