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Terry Collett Aug 2018
Accidentally fell
into a small clearing
in a wood

to escape from battle
and saw the bodies strewn
line on line hundreds

of soldiers by soldiers
some whole as if sleeping
other not so

loss of limbs
or damaged beyond recognition.
He stood still and stared

and wearily leaned against a tree
some of these he'd known
had smoked and joked with

and talked of home
and fireside chat with
now lying here dead

and still and silent
except for the firing of guns
and rifles and bombs exploding

in a nearby field
just thrown here
like so much wasted goods

or carcasses of dead meat.
He lit a cigarette
with shaking hands

and closed his eyes
and pretended he was home
and safe and in his mother's arms

or by the fireside
looking at the flames
then a bomb exploded

extra loud
and he couldnt recall
any of their names.
© 17 minutes ago, Terry Collett
Terry Collett Apr 2018
You lay him under the sun,
down there on the muddied earth;
you and another soldier
wearied out by hot battle
day after day and of night.

The young soldier was dying;
blood coming out as he spoke;
didn't know what he'd spoken:
not prayer or praise nor poor joke.

There were others near by him,
some of them worse or were dead,
without limbs, some without head,
some in rhe mud half buried.

That one you watched as he died,
his eyes open, staring out
at the cold grey sky above;
he didnt die from hatred,
But the simple lack of love.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
When they brought
the big guns up to the Front
it was you who brought them up
with other soldiers
of your regiment.

You who loaded shells
or brought shells
to the gun or you
who set it off
with a sense of wonder
then boredom
then the wonderment
of where it went.

You saw what their shells
could do to men
nearby in the trenches
how earth and bodies
could fly up in pieces
like a dark deadly stew.

Then there was the mud
and the guns getting stuck
or the horses rooted
in the ground
with their flashing eyes
and frightened cries.

You stood gazing
at the moon at night
knowing Fritz saw
the same light as you
and knowing he thought of home
as you do too
with the image of his wife
snuggled down in bed
with him in his head.
Mark Armstrong Mar 2018
The guards cane echoes on the Limestone slab
10 inch wall between ‘em like the white in the flag
Or the grey in a face watching its last chance
Click its heels and take leave of the present tense
Taking the GPO’ll make you no friends
In a long queue of mothers with letters for France
Their boys fight for them but they’ll die for the tans
And homogeneous headstones will be their thanks
As the echo stalks the hall, he hauls a heavy pen
Along his last love letter to ms houlihan
Remember the fallen but beware the risen men
Those who would take what you would not lend

The guards keep the misery one step ahead
Of the slums where they’d rather be flogged and fed
Than to rot in the sheets of a free mans bed
Where the weak of spirit would rob the bridle
Off a G-mans horse for a night inside-I’ll
Wager his wellingtons filled with ****
At the post on the bugle and the cannon’s hiss
But he stood for us and Wolfe tone would attest
It’s not what was won but how it’s spun to the kids
And so the man forges a legacy from lead
As redemptive light pats him on the head
“Now fold that letter and spruce those threads
There’ll be time for heroes once the heroes are dead”
So he made his peace, whispered under his breath
“For each man dropped, there’ll be 10 in their stead
Our suffering is but the unleavened bread”
And took one in the back for each turned head

The firing squad said he barely bled

He lived for The Passion and he died for the plot
For the political prisoners in the dock,
For the rogues in vagabondage on his block
And the scapulars hidden in their socks
For those who threw fruit at the butcher’s block
And the native tongue their young forgot
His beloved martyrs who died by the drop
And the shovelled-up actors that followed him off
Terry Collett Feb 2018
You had not imagined
you'd see the sights
you'd seen, or the smells
of death or sounds of
guns and shells.

You stood in the trench smoking,
inhaling slow and purposeful,
pushing, as best you could,
the sights seen from your mind.

Your boots stood in the mud,
your feet damp
where the boots leaked;
feeling the movements of lice,
you scratched.

You exhaled the smoke
and watched it
rise unevenly
before your eyes.

Two dead soldiers
lay a few feet away,
both you knew,
one quite a card,
now just a corpse
to be moved
when safe to move.

You vaguely recalled
your life back home,
the simple eagerness
to enlist.

You thought of Rosina
back in Blighty,
her bright eyes,
dark curly hair,
wishing you were
with her back there.
Dear  Mother,                                                              Thursday, Nov 28, 1916  

20:00
Thank  you  for  your  pleasant  letter,  it  has  clearly  made  me  feel  at  home  again.  I  have  received  it  on  December  1,  1916.  Please  say  hello  back  to  the  rest  of  the  family  with  many  hugs  and  kisses  for  as  this  letter  may  be  the  last  in  my  midst of  despair.  All  the  letters  I  received  from  you  are  in  my  keepsake  box  and  I  am  always  reading  them  every night  before  I  go  to  sleep.  Today  we  have  been  training  with  the  legion  and  had  sweet  red  wine  with  leftover  dry  biscuits  to  keep  us  warm  throughout  the  night.  There  is  not  much  food  except  for  hard  biscuits,  coffee,  cheese  and  apple  cider  vinegar.  Oh  mother,  how  I  dearly  miss  you  and  Nona.  I  wish  there  was  a  heating  pad,  my  body  is  sore,  especially  my  legs  and  arms. 1  week  ago,  I  hurt  my  arm, the  nurse  told  me  it  could  of  been  worse.  Right  now  I’ am  tired,  trying  to  keep  my  eyes  open  to  finish  this  letter.  My  dear  friend  Johnny  Scampi  died  2  days  ago,  I  am  saddened  with  anguish  and  irritability  to  perform  daily  tasks.  The battlefront  has  many  ******  soldiers  laying  on  the  cold  front  ground.  At  the  time  of  23:00  I  need  to  get  my  rest  so  me  and  the  legion  can  wake up  rejuvenated  for  the  next  day  to train  in  the  trenches  before  France  comes  to  attack  the  battlefront.  Mice  are  lingering  inside the trench  trying  to  find  shelter,  I  have  never  felt  so  afraid  and  lonely  in  my  entire  life.  Soldiers  are  catching  sickness,  lice  and  mental  disabilities  which  have  most  of  our  veterans  sent  back  to  their  families.  Captain Kirk  tells  us,  “You  must  be  strong,  be  a  WARRIOR!  Be  the  man inside  you,  each  and  everyone”.  He  sure  knows  how  to  keep  the  soldiers  motivated.  Tonight  it  is  snowing,  the  sky  is  cloudy  with  a  pink/purple  haze  and  winters  wind  blowing  ashes  and  dust  near  and  inside  the  trenches,  a  little  fire  has  been  lit  to  keep  us  warm.  50, 000  navy  died  and  are  expected  to  live  as  little  up  to  3  weeks.  Germany  has  released  new  carbon  chlorine  gases  and  given  Austria  also  Italy  equipment  and  how  to  survive  when  it  bursts  out  in  the  front.  A  horse  is  out  in  front  of  our  trench  in  case  of  emergencies.

I  have  never  in  my  life  felt  the  truth  of  a  sin  in  front  of  my  Lord God,  each  night  I  pray,  hoping  one  day  to  come  home  safely  and  live  a  normal  life,  which  is  to  be  with  my  family  once  again.
I know this isn't a poet, but i thought to post this for feedback and if i need any corrections through my trench letter of WORLD WAR 1. Thank you. Please comment below on your thoughts.
Terry Collett Sep 2017
One of my regiment
died from dysentery
while others were shot
or blown up by shells.

Trench foot, rat bites,
lice, not to mention
that poor ****
who shot himself
when it got too much.

Sidney paused
taking out an extra strong mint
and ******.

I Walked with him
to the dining hall
in case he fell.

I sat him carefully
in his special chair.

I went to go,
but he grabbed my arm.

Used to crucify some
at the Front, tie them not nail,
field punishment no 1
it was called.

Died from dysentery,
what a way go.

Sidney let go of my arm
and stared ahead
musing no doubt
on the dead.
Old soldier remembered
Terry Collett Jan 2017
The nurse
has left the room;
Polly tucks
George into bed,
settling him down.

Quieter now
after the shouting
and disturbance earlier.

He had been convinced
Quigly was out
in No Man's Land:
out there
he had said,
pointing over
the grounds at dusk,
moonlight
making shadows.

I'll send help for him,
Polly had said.

Don't loose
more men on that,
George had shouted.

His parents came out
rushing onto the verandah
to see what
the fuss was about.

The nurse had tried
to quieten George,
unsuccessfully.

Laughter from guests
in the house
brought George to tears.

Quigly's bought it,
George had moaned.

His eyes were large
and staring out
at the grounds
where stars
had glimmered.

Polly had managed
to get him back
in the house;
the nurse following behind,
eyeing them both.

George lies
with eyes closed.
Polly leans over him.

She wishes he was
as he was before the War
and his time at the Front
and the mental breakdown.

He'd have had her
in his bed by now,
and have ****** her
to joy and back.

Now he lies silent,
eyes shut.

She leans down
and kisses his forehead.

Him back
from the Front
half living,
half dead.
AN OFFICER HOME FROM THE FRONT WITH SHELL SHOCK AND THE MAID IN 1916
Terry Collett Nov 2016
George lies in the dark
of his room, a slit of light
from the moon squeezes
through the gap of the
curtains and makes a streak
onto the floor and the wall
by his bed. He hears gunshot
and explosions, hears men's
moans from No-Man's Land,
senses rats run along the trench.

His hands shake, his eyes stare.

By the window fast asleep a
nurse sits unaware of the wars
inside George's head as he lies
in bed. He watches as Grimes
sits against the trench wall,
smoking a cigarette, then
stands up and goes to the steps,
and looks over the top; smoke
from his cigarette floating
about his head; a whine, splat
and Grimes falls back dead.

Georges stares and mumbles.

Grimes lies staring into the
blackness as if an answer is there.

George gets out of bed, walks
to the wall to tend to Grimes.

The chair by the wall where
the nurse's coat lies stands still.

George talks to the coat, talks
to Grimes. The coat is silent
and unmoving like one dead.

George sees Grimes lying there
in his broken mind and head.
AN OFFICER HOME FROM THE WAR FRONT WITH SHELL-SHOCK IN 1916.
Terry Collett Oct 2016
On his bed
in his room
George sees the remains
of Gilmore laid out
****** and foul smelling,

Polly tries
to get him
to lie down for a while
to rest
to calm his mind
and nerves,

Gilmore's remains
are laid there
he says
pointing to the bed
with a shaking finger,

Polly looks at the bed
where George's pyjamas
fresh cleaned lie
ready to put on,

George stares at her
move them
put them
some place else
he says
his finger
shaking faster,

Polly removes the pyjamas
and places them
on the dresser
over by the wall
and turns back to George,

I have laid them to rest
she says taking hold
of his shaking hand in hers
and taps it gently,

he mutters about
the stench of the trench
about the young soldier
who shook so much
when the whistle
to go over the top blew
he ****** himself
and shook so much
we left him there left him,

George stares ahead
at the bed holding on to
Polly's hands and mutters
left him there,

Polly wishes George
was his old self
and would take her
in his bed as he had
before the War came
now he shakes and stares
as if all around him
were explosions and flares.
AN OFFICER WITH SHELL SHOCK AND THE MAID AT HOME IN 1916.
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