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Nov 2017
She lived with her husband in a Manchester suburb
toiling to keep their kid's bellies filled
oblivious to the horrors yet to be lived
"The war to end all wars" and millions killed

From a thread-bare working class
with poorly paid work and a struggle to get by
her future was stolen in August 1914
she didn't have the vote for her husband to die

Tommy and his pals signed up for glory
marching and grinning but gripped by fear
she waved them off with her heart so heavy
as posters warned the Germans would be here

Tommy returned from the front to nurse his wounds
gone was his smile, his whistle in the morn
a haunted look, he couldn't say what he'd seen
she felt sad and lonely, bereft and forlorn

Supporting her husband throughout his trauma
much work to do and mouths to feed
2 years now into this epic madness
more brave cannon fodder was the nation's need

They recalled Tommy for a battle at the Somme
his mental wounds hidden, he stood at the door
she kissed him as he left to meet his maker
she sighed, then cried and collapsed to the floor

On a warm July morning he was sent to his death
cut down in his prime in no man's land
another pointless, tragic waste of a life
most now saw this "Great War" wasn't so grand

She opened the letter bearing the news
they regretted her loss and said they were pained
passed to her loved ones and back again
barely readable now it was so tear-stained

2 months passed and she read some news
they were showing a film at her local cinema
the carnage at the Somme could now be viewed
some family and friends went to see it with her

She saw a body being carried in the trenches
the face of the dead man was screened
that face was Tommy's, she leapt to her feet
"That's him! That's my Tommy!", she screamed

She was led back home to her children
her pain and anguish she could now release
seeing Tommy one last time gave her closure
his face had looked content and finally at peace
In remembrance week, a piece I wrote a few years back. I wrote it from the point of view of a volunteer's wife to give it a slightly different perspective.
Chris Neilson
Written by
Chris Neilson  M/Manchester, England
(M/Manchester, England)   
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