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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)

poetrywarworld war one


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Greg Freeman

Thu 5th Jul 2012 10:34

Poignant and sharp blend of today and yesterday. Impressive.

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Yvonne Brunton

Wed 16th May 2012 22:56

Too true...the ignorance and insouciance of youth. A great read.

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Harry O'Neill

Mon 14th May 2012 21:13

Christian, Gas masks were fun (honest!)

With a piece of flat card over the air intake you could suffocate your best mate to death...
two kids in our school fainted...The `out` was to hook your finger in the tight bit under your ear and breathe.

Your poem is truer than you think.

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