War – a poem

Recently I’ve been discussing poetry with Riz from the lovely Tech Nottingham community. She’s been reminding me of the power of poetry and short verse to capture moods, feelings, and events.

It got me thinking back to my old Creative English class at school. English wasn’t my top subject as I concentrated on the Maths and Sciences more from my geek tendencies. I remembered writing a poem that got a great mark and I told her I’d dig it out. I’ve not kept all my school books but I’m glad I kept this one.

So along with the photographic evidence from circa 1988 (in its original form without the teacher’s corrections) is my poem about the 2nd World War.


I was put in the trenches
Where the puddles were endless,
And the duck-boards stretched far.
Blasted beauty,
Machine guns chattering splattering
Charging to get to the other side.
At night when the fighting ceased
No. No sleep, no peace, but
Fear of Germans creeping
To kill.
Craters in No Man’s Land
Filled with rain
Killed again
By drowning.
Soldiers strewn across barbed wire,
Immobile men starved in No Man’s Land
Stretcher bearers ran to and fro, to and fro,
Taking the shell shocked.
Way behind enemy lines,
The colonels and the majors,
Lounging in their tents
Gave orders and relaxed.Jonathan Relf 1988

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