The Flowers of the Field

Fading flowers lie scattered on the ground
Scythed down by deadly horizontal hail
The long, short, and tall fall without a sound
Relentless dawn’s bright light begins to fail
As noxious clouds of gas the sun shroud round
The fallen wait for help to no avail
Their raw, tormented lungs gasping for breath
The only worthwhile blessing now is death

Blind heroes stumble forward towards hell
Unseen enemies fire with lethal aim
The crump of shells, the cordite’s acrid smell
Red-hot shards of shrapnel slash flesh and maim
Somewhere, a lost soul screams. It’s hard to tell
If it’s friend or foe for all sound the same
Whether in khaki brown or field grey serge
In death, as not in life, their futures merge

The war is over and we’ve won - but lost
A generation with no chance to bloom
Victory comes at far too high a cost
Numberless in the Unknown Soldier’s tomb
Bright tomorrows fade to black or lie crossed
In long white rows that vanish in the gloom
Such selfless sacrifice soothes our sorrow
For they died to let us live tomorrow

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This poem is dedicated to those who died, were wounded and survived the horrors of the Great War ("to end all wars") 1914 to 1918. Lest We Forget