i.m. Pte Jack Prince

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As the wind blows ever faster,

And the temperature drops,

– I am recalled

To my dialogue with the dead.

My grandfather, Jack, had his

Last pint of bitter in this pub

I am sitting in before

Embarking for France in 1914,

And his first one back in November 1918.

2020 Jack - alive in my heart - always loved, never seen -

Not a line of his writing have I, not a wisp of his hair;

Now be-suited businessmen and women sit there

Endlessly playing with their phones, endlessly twiddling,.

They wouldn’t know a pint of best bitter

If you threw one in their well-manicured

Faces.  Sometimes, I am possessed by

Jack’s spirit: his anger at injustice and his ability

To see through glib hypocrisy and gob-shitery. Fuckery

Of all sorts and conditions, by all sorts and conditions;

When the day fades into night

And I'm free of pain, at last

I see into the past

With Jack's clear-sighted eye.



◄ Early Spring in England

A charmed death ►


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John Marks

Mon 10th Feb 2020 23:07

Thank you Keith and Martin. My granddad, Jack, was a machine gunner (Tommy guns, they called them) in the Cheshire regiment. He told me about the UVF arriving en masse on the Somme after the collapse of the Easter Rising, with union flags flying 'easy meat for the bosche' he said.

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Martin Elder

Mon 10th Feb 2020 10:51

Beautifully and succinctly put John. Does seem like those of a different generation are lost to their mobile devices. You have captured the imagery well in these lines.
Nice one

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keith jeffries

Mon 10th Feb 2020 10:31


This poem contains thoughts which frequently pass through my mind. The sacrifices of the past juxtaposed with the caprice of the present day. The shift of values. The readiness to relegate history as being not particularly significant, when those, like your grandfather and mine, bought this generation their mobile phones and their culture of the 'self'.

Thank you for this

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