Thursday, 5 June 2014

Australian War Cemetery, the Somme.

The day is weeping, quietly, but weeping.
A soft grey mist covers the distant ridges,
Lies close upon the green, lush folds,
And drips off the thousands of white crosses
Standing rigidly at parade ground attention,
Marked with this sad simplicity:
"A Soldier of the Great War".
Hard to think that in this landscape a century ago
A voracious, nightmarish Nationalism
Opened its giant maw and rumbled creaking
Over the green folds, quiet woods and farmlands,
Venting as it went a putrid, reeking stench
Of mud, barbed wire, crater holes, shells, gas,
Kilometre upon winding kilometre of trenches
And a tangled, twist of young lives
Stuck in the deep mud, or huddled
Beneath the percussive thud of artillery,
Or emerging from their trenches
Into the withering staccato spray of machine gun.
Yes, it is quiet. The landscape is green.
The guns have gone. The young men are dust.
Gone too are their mothers, or lovers,
Their brothers, sisters, family, friends.
Gone too is the mud, the gas, the trenches,
The inconsolable grief and loss,
But a soft grey mist covers the distant ridges,
Lies close upon the green, lush, folds
And drips off the thousands of white crosses
Marked with this sad simplicity:
"A Soldier of the Great War",
For the day is weeping, quietly weeping
And must go on weeping still.

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