Somme – Poem #119

The Leeds, Bradford and Barnsley Pals
Sheffield City and Grimsby Chums
Harrogate and Tenth West Yorkshire
heard the call of the pipes and drums

All lads who shared a pint together
the butcher’s boy and cobbler’s son
went off to see the sights of France
from a trench beside the River Somme

Last evening in England it was boasts and toasts
poems, songs and innocent prayers
a night made warm, breathless and palpitant
by excited young lovers bidding farewell

That morning sunrise in the trench
he picked a poppy and placed it ‘hind his ear;
a conversation with a well fed rat
who stared at him, laughed and showed no fear

till the whistle sounded
the pipes wailed, skirling aye
for all they were worth
as they went over the top

the drinking chums from Barnsley and Grimsby
from Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield City
into the guns which cut them down
like mowing poppies on a pitch at home

And a cry went up from all the shire
from towns and villages which lost their lads
for friends who drank and died together
on a bloody field in dirt and mire.

No one living now recalls them
Harrogate Pals and Tenth West Yorkshire
but on this day all England remembers
in national memory, a river in France.

They will bring flowers to the graves today
flowers from where they were born and bred
flowers from their English gardens
passing “Winged Victory” where children play.

.

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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1 Response to Somme – Poem #119

  1. beetleypete says:

    Very moving, and a tribute to those ‘Pals’ regiments too.
    I may have told you, but we own one of those original ‘Tower Poppies’. Julie bought it to support the British Legion, and every single one was handmade, so slightly different.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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