Granddad’s Legacy

You’ve coughed, and coughed, throughout these years

Those watery eyes, those dreadful spasms, as gasping breaths

Reveal the chasm that was your life, and now is ours.

In despairing depths we watch and pray

As blood stained phlegm, and sputum spray

Reminding us of constant pain, so bravely borne,

Then once again, your face forlorn, shoulders hunched,

That anxious look, those shocking eyes which saw the shame,

As men were gassed, and fell like rain

Those self same eyes which lost their use,

Whilst generals wanting further gain, urged our troops,

The British cream, to face once more their awful dream

The dying cries of those who knew, twas now their time to leave the grime

And find new mistresses of mud, intent on sucking out their blood

Absorbing all they had to give, whilst some, intent to live

Embraced the earth, turned away, and said they’d had enough that day

Then faced the wrath of those above, who’d never trod those blood stained boards

Though making sure Courts Martial ruled, and honest men, their names defiled

Then stood against the fence; none smiled

As squads of men, our fellow friends, took aim then fired.

Three hundred men, brave and true, sixteen, seventeen, just like you

To young to join but not to die, and still we hear your nightly cry

For brothers lost and dreams disturbed, as once again we hear the words

“For King & Country we did our duty”; then we see your heaving chest

And wonder is this best left, or, should we help you to your final rest?

Your final sleep, your last endeavour, ended by my feather pillow?

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