1914 – A Huge Fraction

He still felt deafened by the terrible sound
From the huge field guns that both sides had
Been firing hour after hour for four days. You
Could be scared to death just from the noise.

An eighth didn’t seem like much
Two sixteenths
Four thirty-seconds
Eight sixty-fourths
Sixteen one hundred and twenty-eighths.

Following his recent promotion to Colonel
He was sitting in his new office at his new desk
Hesitating to put his pen to paper
Resisting the inevitable sorrow to come.

He was writing down the numbers – thinking
Thirty two two hundred and fifty-sixths
Sixty four five hundred and twelfths.
Now the numbers looked much bigger.
When he reached
Five hundred and twelve as a
fraction of four thousand and ninety-six
He stopped.

The number now seemed insurmountable
Yet it was still that small fraction.
But he now had to write to that number
Of wives, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters
And tell them that their boy would
Never again walk through their front door.

An eighth is so much more than just a fraction.

©Joe Wilson – 1914 A huge fraction…2014

One of a group of poems recognising the centenary of WW1

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