An old house’s garden
Beneath a gnarled apple tree…
Lay a lonely child’s ball
Lost a while ago
One rainy day
When George and Tony
Were called in for tea
Laughter left on the ground.
Brothers, later in the war
Mounted on spirited horses…
Where, both horse and George,
Learned to scream at the noise…
Fear became embedded terror
When hell erupted in that French field
One brother’s horse exploded as a shell…
Found its lower neck
Tony sought to crawl back under the wire…
Before finding both his feet were missing.
Swamped in crimson pain
Failing consciousness stopped
The rough stretcher bearer hurting
His legs as they were gripped
His body thrown carelessly
On to a gore stained stretcher.
No memory of that stumbled journey
Back to the trenches
Brave bearers delivered
Doctors finally stabilised the injuries
But like the lost ball
His mind lay dormant.
Transported home in a wheelchair
Parents did their best
Mothers feeding and nursing
A crippled mind in a crippled body
Tony still screamed the house awake.
In his chair in the garden
Where the apple blossom flowered
A broken man sat in the sunshine
Look down and …
For the first time in years
Smiled sadly as George’s ball
Still showed under the leaves.
George and Tony died that night
Thirty years apart.