It was a Summer of banners,
awash in tunics, red and blue
bedecked with golden epaulets
black boots, silver stirrups
pipes, drums, trumpets and Tatoo.
It was a Summer of boasts and toasts
of poems, songs and innocent prayers
nights made warm, breathless and palpitant
by excited young lovers saying farewell.
As millions cheered from the sidelines
in fashionable hats and billowing skirts
Princes and Serenities
Highnesses and Potentiaries
marched their spit ‘n polished legions
through ancient flag draped streets.
And so a cobbler went off
to kill a baker’s son
and a farmer killed a working “Hun”
though each wanted nothing more
than to live, love and someday die
in his own bed.
They went over the top
to the sound of the pipes
skirling aye for all they were worth
their rulers pointing the way
into machine guns.
And tens of millions of corpses later
as Princes and Serenities
fled a world that wept
the sound of the pipes
would never be the same again.