Honouring the Fallen.
Why do you march old man, with medals on your chest?
Why do you grieve old man, for those friends you laid to rest?
Why do your eyes still gleam old man when you hear the bugles blow?
Tell me, why do you cry old man for those days so long ago?
I'll tell you why I march with medals on my chest, young man.
I'll tell you why I grieve young man, for those I laid to rest.
Through misty eyes comes visions of distant times.
When boys of tender age march forth to distant wars.
We buried them in a blanket shroud,
Their young flesh scorched and blackened.
A communal grave, newly gouged in bloodstained gorse and bracken
And you ask me why I march young man.
I march to remind you all that for,
Those apple-blossomed youths who marched to war,
You'd never have known freedom at all.
Cyprus, a little island in the sun,
Where strife has reigned since time begun,
Today is still lost in limbo,
With dividing line that runs akimbo.
Old man sitting dozing in Taverna cool,
Watching life pass from his stool,
Seeing holidaymakers getting drunk,
Too much alcohol and skunk.
Casts his mind back to the Brecons,
Training hard with loaded weapons,
Then to this little island sent,
To help to quell their strong dissent.
He remembered life in fifty eight,
A teenager still and without hate,
Trained to be a different person,
With other conscripts life would worsen.
As he sits there, a strong smell of blossom,
Jogs his memory of laying possum,
In an orange grove 'till night,
Nerves on edge for pending fight.
Colonel Grivas was rumoured here,
One who was wanted very dear,
The monastery door was left ajar,
Just fifty yards but seemed so far.
They couldn't wait daylight was coming,
Two stayed behind two others running,
Someone had been there, but they had gone,
The signs of occupation strong.
A shout went up, "razor wire!”
Too late to stop, injury dire,
Caught around the youngsters neck,
Who in total silence hit the deck.
The old mans musings were interrupted,
By an English voice with Greek corrupted,
"Like more wine my dear Kamari?
Daylight's coming, we mustn't tarry,"
He said "I've had enough," then, "bloody heck!"
As he saw the huge scar on his neck,
"Yes, I need a drink to celebrate,
The joy at finding my young mate."
The old man drifted off to sleep,
To rejoin fallen comrades at Wayne's Keep,
His eyes were misty with shed tears,
Of memories strong for many years.
They say going back again's not wise
Memories are better they advise,
The old man's happy, for him 'twas best,
To finally lay this ghost to rest.
Gerry Stone 2010
Joshua Dyer (aged 14) was tasked at school to write a poem for Remembrance Day. An hour later (without any help) he produced this.
'One Thousand Men Are Walking'
One thousand men are walking
Walking side by side
Singing songs from home
The spirit as their guide
they walk toward the light milord
they walk towards the sun
they smoke and laugh and smile together
no foes to outrun
these men live on forever
in the hearts of those they saved
a nation truly grateful
for the path of peace they paved
they march as friends and comrades
but they do not march for war
step closer to salvation
a tranquil steady corps
the meadows lit with golden beams
a beacon for the brave
the emerald grass untrampled
a reward for what they gave
they dream of those they left behind
and know they dream of them
forever in those poppy fields
there walks one thousand men
Joshua Dyer 2019 (aged 14)
Do not grieve too long for me.
I lie here, oh so silent, for no one knows I'm here ,
I feel no pain or hurt beneath the dirt of Flanders fields,
The moment that I parted life was instant, sharp and clear ,
But do not grieve too long for me, tis but my body here.
For all we fallen rise again to freedom only known,
To those like we, who live for ever, as o'er the world we roam,
We gambol just like young men do when out at liberty,
We move like birds so effortless, over land and over sea.
We know the secrets and the way towards the Elysian fields,
There's none that will gainsay us, for everybody yields,
We call into Valhalla and quaff an ale or two,
With all the other heroes known from here to Timbuctoo.
We tread so lightly that we leave no earthly marks behind,
We shake the hand of friendship to foe and friend in kind,
For fighting men do honour those who battle true and fair,
And we offer them a place with us and point them to a chair.
And yet we miss the ones we love, the ones we left for war,
But they are from a former life, the one we used to share,
So do not grieve too long for us, we are free beyond all knowing,
And now my friends I leave you, for I hear the bugle blowing.
29th October, 2019.
Golden eagles soar high in the sky up above,
Blossom scent strong in the breeze, wafts on by,
Innocent Children playing games that they love,
Carefree and boisterous until bedtime draws nigh.
At dusk changes occurred in this idyllic location,
Men with guns crept, through the pungent night scent,
In their search for freedom, with fierce pride in their nation,
To drive out the British was their avowed intent.
This all happened, a long time ago,
In this weary land dusty and scorched by the sun,
EOKA led fighters, only bloodshed they sow,
In the mountains of Troodos or the streets where they run.
Life is so different for the people today,
The island's divided in sectors, soldiers peace keeping,
Sovereign bases still there, needing to stay,
Independence this way, was it this they'd been seeking?
Was it all worth it old stalwarts might say,
Was anything gained for the lives that were lost,
Widows and Children heavenwards pray,
Is war ever worth the suffering, lives and the cost?