None of the class could put their uniform
on in under a minute, fit their gas masks
and speak in a BBC accent. Two ran off
to explore World War Two but got lost
in the Blitz. Boys cooed at machine gun
nests and gagged at the taste of canned beef,
mistaking it for mustard gas. Everyone
laughed at the tour guide's rendition
of "Oh! It's a Lovely War" but wept
when someone's mobile phone went off,
blaring Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean".
Some of the older children vowed
to enlist in Kitchener's army if
he was still around, tattooing
God Save the King on their forearms
during lunch. Nobody chewed the words
of "Dulce et Decorum est" thoroughly.
At the end of the day, everyone carved
trenches into their desks and stared
at the clock, waiting for it to drop like a bomb.
(3rd prize SLQ Poetry Competition July 2010)