The Great War: a poem

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?

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