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Valdemar (Val) R Wake

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Dead Willows Mourn,
by Valdemar (Val) R Wake
Friday, February 06, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
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The battle of Sedgemoor was the last battle to be fought on English soil. It was fought outside the Somerset village of Westonzoyland. I lived in Westonzoyland from 1973 to 1977.


The Battle of Sedgemoor- 1685

On storied moors where good men danced at the end of an ungiving rope
Where white blossums floated in the warm air
And gibbets lined the drove;
Here on the corn cut plain they sat, drinking their fill of scrumpy.
Red coated and scarlet cheeked, laughing in the lazy air
They sported with the dancing men
voiceless in agony
Silently screaming at the crow-cawed sky
while the Zog people watched
Their hands newly rough from willow cutting
the lifeless trees
Which now hung with bleeding fruit along the drove.
The ryhne patterned fields stood silent witness
As the Zog people saw their world come apart
When the Somerset sun shone in the Somerset dust.

RAF Westonzoyland-1943

The pilot looked up.
"Doing the right as they gave it," the inscription read.
The willow lined fields were the same
And the warriors were again in uniform.
The machines of war were once again at work.
The Lancasters had just come back from Frankfurt.
"It was a big op," they shouted.
Nervous laughter rose in the summer air.
It was not that they were uncaring, they were just plain scared.
Flying at 20,000 feet
Bombs burst like blossums snuffing out life
The screaming faces could not be seen.
Was it Paul who got hit over the Channel?
It was hard to tell with his face covered by an oxygen mask.
Red coated soldiers tasted their blood but at 20,000 feet life left with indecent haste
And there was no noise but the drum of the engines.

The Re-enactment-1975

A small man stood in the nave of the church.
Over his shoulder, in a side chapel, an air force flag hung limply,
a leftover from a war that was.
The congregation stirred restlessly.
"It was in this church," he said, " where they kept the prisoners.In this very church," he said
as if he could hardly believe it himself.
The high carved ceiling waited in splendid solemn shadows,
benignly watching the people below.
A holy assembly of fondly carved cherubs looked down on another generation of Zog people,
the people of the plains.
Look at them now.
People much as they were, coping with the daily demands of making a living.
Yeoman stock some, workers of the fields,
listening to the small man with his regimental tie telling them about their history and how great events had taken place on their forefathers' fields.
He had come to play soldiers, the Vicar said, the small man with the tie that is;
To arrange a re-enactment, to entertain the crowd.
But the yeoman who owned the field where the battle was fought stood up.
"I'll have none of this. There has been too much blood."
And that was an end of it.

Dead willows mourn
Willows where fighter planes flew and men died
where they fell in the fields.
Dead willows mourn in a soft flat land and a plain iron plaque proclaims where electricity pylons now stand,
that they were:
"Doing the right as they gave it."


The image used to illustrate this poem is identified as the Battle of Sedgemoor. However in view of the tartan evident among some of the soliders it is more likely that this is an illustration of the Battle at Culloden of 1746. The image does illustrate the likely circumstances of a pitch battle when soldiers engaged in hand to hand fighting.

Copyright Val Wake 2009



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Reviewed by Edwin Hurdle 2/9/2009
I enjoy reading this poem,take care

Edwin
Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER 2/6/2009
The sky pure red, fifty thousand dead, the drone of the lancasters as they fled, only five miles away the blood red sky, I was five, Yes, the Yeoman was right, to do the right, I was there and seen that bloody fight. Very vivid memories, the stench is still in my nostrils from them unseen burning faces, but then Dresden was much worse! No flags hanging in them churches, none left, Britain is helping to rebuild the more famous one now, it's a good welcoming sign, I think your Yoeman would really love it. Thank you for this memorable historic poem and Blessings! Jasmin Horst
Reviewed by Larry Lounsbury 2/6/2009
It was as if I was there-enjoyed very much!
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