Futility

French fields, frenetic
Absurd political inanity
Trenches dug ever more…
Towards, ‘The Line’
Paling boards holding back mud
Latrines, where some cried
Some prayed, each afraid
Never to see home again.

Now in hell where serendipity ruled
Next to comrades from the Empire
Fearing the approaching crump
Thud of mortar shells
As if giant footfalls approaching
Holding its, ‘White Feather’
In stumped and crumpled hand
The grim reaper, indiscriminate.

The British lines refuelled
As the ‘Pals regiments
take their turn
To face the ‘Hun’
Hundreds- Thousands
Shaking hands lit cigarettes
Bladders gripped tight
As the sergeants whistle…

Screamed “Over the top
Run till you drop”
The unlucky, lucky, never made their last run
Their mighty screams lost to the living
Fierce rifle crackling bullets dispatch
Pain and death in horrific regularity
Heavy shells and mortars explode
Taking more innocents.

Sometimes, within a hundred yards
Screams of dead and dying
Bodies spurting crimson, limbs flail
So many fall in spontaneous curtsies
Machine guns wreak their steaming havoc
Barbed wire shivers in the storm of bullets
while the General’s swagger sticks
Roughly count the losses.

(Mike)

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