Tag Archives: war

Again

A moving piece by Andrew Joyce. One that should teach us all something the world seems to have forgotten.

I went off to war at the tender age of sixteen. My mother cried and begged me to stay, but my country needed me. I would not see my mother again for four very long years.

Due to my age, I was assigned to field headquarters as a dispatch courier for the first two years of the war. However, by the beginning of the third year, I had grown a foot taller and was shaving. And because men were dying at an alarming rate, I was sent into the trenches.

They say that war is hell. I say hell is peaceful compared to living in a muddy trench with bombs exploding around you at all hours of the day and night, although there were periods of respite from the shelling. Those were the hours when the enemy had to let their big guns cool or else the heat of firing would warp them. I lived like that for two years.

I was at Verdun where I saw the true hell of war. After eleven months, we fought to a standstill. When the dead were counted, almost a million men from both sides had given their lives and not one inch of ground had been gained.

By November of 1918, we were out of food, out of ammunition, and almost out of men to send to the slaughter. The people at home had had enough of seeing their sons and fathers and brothers shipped home in boxes. There were marches and protests against the war. Near the end, the dead were not even sent home, but buried in the fields where they had fallen.

At last, the war was over. I am told that nine million men died in those four years, and another twenty million were wounded. I was there and those numbers seem a little low to me, but what do I know? I was only a private.

A Plea for Peace. A poem,

I have been very concerned by, and, yes, afraid, of the war of words between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. They both seem to be wanting a fight. This I can’t understand as it would be a war that cannot be won, and could be the end of humanity. Certainly it would be the end of society as we know it.

It would not end with the cessation of attacks. Such a war would leave a legacy of radiation and sickness for those left behind, and without the resources of medicine, millions more, who survived the blast, would die horribly. Think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those bombs are as children’s toys compared with what is available to the nuclear powers today’

Then there’s the ‘Nuclear Winter’ that would follow. Without the sun, plants would fail and there would be massive starvation. How can world leaders even consider such a dire possibility?

In the 1960s, people were afraid that a nuclear war was a very real possibility. After all, in 1960,it had only been 15 years, since the USA dropped a hydrogen bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was also the era of the ‘cold war’, and everyone was afraid of Russia, or rather the USSR as it was then, a vast empire ruled by Russia. It was in this climate I wrote the following poem.
It is the only poem that exists from that time. It is also the only poem of mine ever to have been published before as a poem and not as part of a novel. It was published in the student magazine of UMIST, in Manchester.

statue-of-liberty-2629937_1280
A Plea for Peace

Now we have created something
That threatens to destroy.
One error, one mistake
And what is left for us
But Death.

I see the ruins of a country
That once was powerful.
Now it is nothing but
Ruins, dust, decay
And Death.

I hear the cries of suffering people
Many people, old and young
They cry in agony to God
Please give us peace
Through Death.

But

The only true peace we can have on Earth
Is through remembrance of our Saviour’s birth.

 

If you liked this poem, and have an opinion on the views it expresses, please add a comment in the comments section.