We need to deromanticize that bloody war

GRANDFATHER JUNE 1916

Came back and could not bear the feel of mud
under his feet. Would walk paths in the park
and never cross the grass. Sat in the dark
for random hours. A quickness in the blood

that told him horses, pulled him to the card.
It raced so fierce. Whisky would make him sleep
like the best pillow. Echoed lice would creep
across his skin. He got his life back. It was hard

To live. He stumbled. Bootlace was untied.
The bullet glanced his helmet, and his face
down in the stinking mud. And in his place
his best friend, who was right behind him, died.

He went there to pull teeth. Over the top
they made him go. His scream would never stop.

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About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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7 Responses to We need to deromanticize that bloody war

  1. eglantine_br says:

    Wow. Somehow for me the thing that made it was his avoidance of mud. This hurt to read, in a very good way.

  2. rozkaveney says:

    Embarrassingly – that’s the thing I made up. I know he became an adrenalin junky and a professional gambler. (He also abandoned his family which is something I shall write about soon). I know he was clumsy because a couple of relatives mentioned that’s where I get it from. I remember him as a very neat old man which is where I got the avoiding mud thing from.

  3. eglantine_br says:

    Nothing at all wrong with making it up. Poetry is realer than the smallness of fact.

  4. kalimac says:

    Very fine and gutsy, but … “we need to deromanticize” it? I just attended a performance of the War Requiem. Mr. Owen, he made the first big score at that laudable goal at the time and there have been many others since. And the band played ‘Waltzing Matilda’ …

  5. gonzo21 says:

    And Gove shouldn’t be in charge of anything more complicated than a ball point pen.

    Beautiful poem.

  6. cmcmck says:

    As you know, I’m a military historian.

    I’d like to be able to give the bloody politicians a compulsory reading list on war and warfare which might just stop them from this puerile idiocy, starting perhaps with the one I’ve just finished and which managed to shock even me.

    My late FiL fought in that war and kept the bullet which hit his haversack as he returned from the lines- a sniper’s bullet at extreme range and spent when it hit him although it still knocked him over. He scratched his number on that bullet and survived active frontline service in both world wars.

    We now possess that bullet………..

  7. cakmpls says:

    Beautiful and heartbreaking.

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