Poor Bloody Infantry


There’s a crack and a crash

And curses and a frantic rush

“Get down! Get DOWN!!”

And the dust blows again and the sun

Is dulled by another flaring flash

And they look for where the shot came from –

We know where it went

And that it will take the one who saw it last

to a small Wiltshire town

and the watchers who mourn someone else’s son.


But then, in muddy French fields

They walked, ordered not to run,

(to this day, who knows why?)

Through the drifting gas

 Into a storm against the uncut wire

And two million were killed

So many that in the serious cold

Bodies were piled to fortify the trench

A notice hung on a frozen leg.


Further back still in time

They faced the Scottish rain

Shivering with the cold steel waiting to be told

What next to do and felled by the cannon,

facing the mercenaries and their own kin,

enfiladed in their charge

And  pursued to the scaffold or,

If lucky to the stinking ships and

A death in life.




What’s it all for?

It happened that’s all

Would the world have changed

had it all gone the opposite way?

Would we have had peace

Would the other victors have been more awful

Or less

Would the Scots have ruled better than the English

The Krauts better than the Poms

Would fewer die of cholera or the plague

Would the sun have gone round the earth?


And when the dust is laid,

 and the wailing prayers loud again

will the streets be full of ragged men

and the women still in thrall

and the graves still speak of nothing

but  the PBI, who always fall?



◄ Escape velocity

To the New Year ►


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Khushal kothari

Wed 26th Dec 2018 11:38


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