A Soldier’s Poem
Dear Wife, while all my comrades sleep
And I, my two hours lonely vigil keep.
I think of you, and all across the foam.
Glad of no scenes like this at home.
Here Desolation reigns as King,
Where many happy homes have been:
And dotted round me where I stand
Some hero’s resting-place marks the land.
Just here the village school once stood,
The scene of childhood’s happy days;
But now, alas, all that remains
Is crumbling ruins, and sad Decay.
As through an orchard now I stray
I pass, what once had been the farm:
No Human Vengeance can repay
Vile Huns, who first raised War’s Alarm.
While slowly pacing to and fro
And silence reigns supreme:
What’s that? The star-shells’ brilliant glow:
The flash - the deadly sniper’s rifle gleams.
Perchance to find its bullet true,
The hissing bullet sped.
And crouching low, in front of you.
Your chum remarks, “It’s just gone overhead.
While Dawn arises in the East.
The fact on me is thricefold bourne
No truer words were ever said:-
“Man’s Inhumanity to Man, makes countless thousands mourn.
But when we lay ourselves to rest:
A smoke, a yarn, and we’re complete
We think of our dear ones at home.
Most sure of “Kaiser Bill’s” Defeat.
(Scribbled while on guard at 11 p.m., “somewhere in France.”)
The above poem was found in a British trench in September 1915, and sent home with a letter written on 20 September 1915 by 2129 Lance-Corporal William Laurie Field, of the 1/1st Battalion, The Hertfordshire Regiment (Territorial Force), who wrote home to Wolverton (now part of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire) from his billet at Gonnehem. Lance-Corporal Field's letter was published in The Wolverton Express on 8 October 1915. of Form
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