Passchendaele (Autumn 1917)

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Passchendaele (Autumn 1917)

Blind, wide open, eyes.
Dripping poppy petal tears.
Crimson rivers flow.

Fields transformed to mud.
Deep cut trenches scar the earth.
Wounds that will not heal.

Gas clouds drift from hell.
Death exhaled in fetid breath.
Lost boys fall like flies.

Ghosts haunt no mans land
searching for their bitter souls
in butchered bodies.

Finding empty shells,
cold bullet riddled corpses.
Nameless and broken.

First light cracks the dark
Holy, holy Seraphim
burn the battlefield.

No place for God here.
Just the stench of charnel house
and false politics.

Loss of Innocence
on Golgotha’s barbaric
ridge at Passchendaele.

godless warhaikupasschendaelewar poetryworld war 1ypresSITWB

◄ Slamming Flies

the small matter of a white screen at midnight ►


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Dominic James

Fri 27th Jun 2014 12:14

Hi Ian

takes a few steep steps down to get back into the feel of this one, again, I think it's very good. Usual thing, take up or dismiss anything I say here, they are my reactions...

The first stanza gives me an image of lids opening on blood coming out as of a wound, dark, venous. Blinding and so separate rather than opening on the battlefield.

Golgotha - the photo attached does put me in mind of the crucified, but I do not like: God does not belong here, and the stench of the charnel house, they sound like re-used phrases however well the sentiment works... and "false politics" is beneath the event and the poem, whereas the other two might pass, I think a political nod is an intellectual diversion in the consuming physical presence of the battlefield.

Otherwise: you hit the point, excellent, eeriness... I pretty much agree with everyone, good work!

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Ian Whiteley

Sat 7th Jun 2014 20:26

Thanks for the kind and supportive comments guys. So Dominic, what's wrong with those particular verses? If I don't know then I can't do much about it :-) they still work fine for me ;-)

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Dominic James

Fri 6th Jun 2014 10:22

This is good work Ian, it really speaks. I will say I don't like the first and last two stanzas, which don't do the rest of the poem justice, better aloud I expect, but this is a stirring passage, a coherent, terrible taking stock in the aftermath of a battlefield, among the corpses and ghosts - delivery like gunfire!

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Laura Taylor

Fri 6th Jun 2014 09:25

Sorry it's taken me so long to get round to commenting on this - saw it a while back but was a tad busy round then.

I absolutely LOVE this. Perfect haiku series - each one stands alone and fits beautifully together. You've captured the ghastliness and the eerie atmosphere so well. I hope this has been sent off to a war anthology (I'm sure you mentioned such a thing at the MH gig?).

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Jeff Dawson

Fri 30th May 2014 13:46

Brilliant Ian, every line hits the point!

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Andy N

Tue 27th May 2014 12:18

rich, rich stuff m8.

impressive. considering i am in the middle of first world war research i know exactly where you are coming form with this.

one minor thing i was wondering should
Lost boys fall like flies. be in fact lost boys fell like flies as it's in the past.

excellent stuff still m8

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