1914. World War One. A time of dark and dire events
When those in power disagreed and staged a bloody war immense
Our boy stood up to do his bit, buoyed by thoughts of victory
And where’s our bonny soldier now? They swapped his life for purgatory
His body cold in foreign fields, his memory engraved in stone.
But what of all the life he missed? How come they didn’t send him home?
Three times he played a shield for them. They blatantly ignored his plight.
Injured, shell-shocked and afraid, they forced him back into the fight
Torso wracked with filthy sores, trapped in squalid no man’s land
Stinking, ailing, short of food, expected to endure a stand
His spirit weak and traumatized, he had to go for fear the price
He’d pay, should he cling on to life, of being shot for cowardice
‘Twas only once that life was spent, they set him free from battle-field
A battered, broken human shell, his spirit lost, his blood congealed
He’ll never see his home again or know the joy that life could bring
He’ll never feel the warmth of love. They bled him dry of everything.
A tin-pot medal handed then to say that this boy gave his life
But there’s no hand to pass it to. He never even had a wife
So justify it, if you can, the cost of all those cherished boys
Set up as human targets while they waged their war and flaunted toys
They said that it would be the war to end all wars and guard our homes
They said, they’d come home heroes but the heroes left were fit for homes
And still the wars are raging on and still they take our treasured kin
In spite of all the pain and grief, they still have not learned anything.
The only power within my grasp is the power of my pen to set
New memories of those tortured souls upon the world
Lest we forget.
John Mackey (pictured)– died 5th October 1916. WW1 Battle of the Somme, France.
This is his story, taken from his war records.
The Green fields of France