Written by Dennis Travis, 84, from Greenfield, in July 2014 to commemorate those who fought in WW1.
The Great War
The ‘Great?’ War
Why leave soldiers buried deep
For a hundred years under mud or marble
Before you showed us what really happened?
Why should a football stadium’s
Worth of young men, fall
In the first hour of battle?
Was it because there were more bullets than bodies?
Or are generals more accident-prone than most?
Ask Maxim and the other lauded engineers
Who fitted a higher gear to war
And efficient legal slaughter.
Cretinous, highly-polished Generals
Stood and watched arms and ammunition
Overtake the old Army Manual.
They showed no interest in machine guns (or tanks)
(‘Nothing a cavalry charge won’t cure.’)
Then an Army Ballistics Sergeant
Draped a fat gun barrel
With a golden necklace of bullets.
‘When you get my signal
Give the trigger a short squeeze
And the gun will jerk and stutter’;
(You could imagine you’re stitching khaki tunics)
Alright for Jerry behind the gun,
But when these bullets strike they ‘Tumble’,
As if engineered to ‘cartwheel’.
Think what that does to bone and tissue.
And why overnight, precious lives become cheap.
What price then a cavalry charge?