Call to Arms

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A poem I wrote last year for a first world war event at Liverpool Museum. Thought I would be apt today as the centenary memorials are happening in France. It describes the events of local men (PALS) being encouraged to fight the war.

Call to Arms

It seems so long ago, since I’d heard that rousing call

As we stood such young boys, at Saint Georges Hall

Lord Derby encouraging; Make your city proud!

Many men’s beating hearts, stirring, in the crowd

We were Pals, part of the regiment of the Kings

So proud to do our duty, protect our nearest kin.

Together we have battled, through mire and cannon ball

Together we have carried our comrades when they fall

 

We won the fight at Montauban, and sent those Germans packing

Two hundred Scouse boys paid the price, but still we kept attacking.

Moving on to Guillermont, five hundred more are slain

Our blackest day in this hell, in the driving rain

Stench of rotting flesh, lingers in the air

Once stirring hearts of those young men now filled with despair.

Lice and rats run over us, oblivious to this horror

Taking opportunities, in this overwhelming squalor.

 

 

The battle of Transloy Ridges, two hundred plus mown down

Though we the pals of Liverpool, live to fight another dawn.

Mud and bullets all around, bombs upon us rained

Men screaming, maimed and dying; with eyes of the deranged.

We cling on to our memories of home and family,

Which keeps us pressing on and on, in this murderous spree.

Air becomes heavy; our sergeant gives a shout;

Pull down your masks lad’s, there is gas about

 

I didn’t hear the shell; I just felt the searing pain

Pals around me writhed and screamed as if they’d gone insane

I took your photo from my pocket, gazed upon your face

Felt the warmth of your arms, lovingly embrace

Is this real? Can it be true? Are you really here?

In this tormented hell you took away my fear.

Awoken in the hospital, shrapnel in my thigh

I’m sure you came and saved me and kept my soul alive.

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