A grizzled old man
Never laughed or smiled
On the beach at Cliftonville with his knotted hanky hat
He sat – and coughed and coughed all day.
Aunt Lil told Mum of his time in France
His adventure turned to hell
Once tall and strong, he smart- marched along
Now horrors he could not tell.
A wispy yellow brown mist burned his throat, face, and lungs
He gasped, he was caught by dragons tongues that day
With no place to run, to late the gas mask warning came
His mates had come to stay.
Most sprawled lifeless; they said he was lucky
With one eye gone
He’d not soldier on
As he coughed his way to Blighty.
Bert got a medal for his misery
He called it “A Pip Squeak and Wilfred”
As he put it to his chest and said
“I’m just another of the walking dead”.
To men who gave their all.