Mud goes so stiff as it dries on the clothes
And it gets in the rifles and ammo
And men live in the mud for day after day
And they die there as the death tolls just grow.
The lads call it Wipers, but we know it’s called Ypres
And we don’t know the language but know mud
And the massive field guns that are firing this way
Causing lots of men to stay here for good.
In two months I’ve not heard the sound of a bird
With the fighting and dying you don’t listen
But I saw a dead blackbird lying out in the mud
And memories of home made my eyes glisten.
I’d rather be back at my home on the farm
Tending cattle and working the land
But I’m lying here shooting at men I don’t know
In a hard bloody war that I don’t understand.
We’ll soon be coming to the end of this year
We were told that it wouldn’t last too long
I don’t know how much longer the men can last out
The spirits willing but their bodies aren’t strong.
We’ve been pounded for hours, we’ve been pounded for days
It seems like so long and it’s so cold
There are men who’ve got frostbite and gangrene and sores
But it’s the dysentery that makes some men fold.
When will it end and who will make peace
They’re decisions that aren’t made at the front
But by men back at home who think they know best
Not by poor dying men bearing the brunt.
One in a group of poems I wrote recognising the centenary of the outbreak of World War I