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There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

There's a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere
In a distant land so many miles away.
Only Uncle Sam's great heroes get to go there
Where I wish that I could also live some day.
I'd see Lincoln, Custer, Washington and Perry,
And Nathan Hale and Colin Kelly, too.
There's a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
Waving o'er the land of heroes brave and true.

In this war with its mad schemes of destruction
Of our country fair and our sweet liberty,
By the mad dictators, leaders of corruption,
Can't the U. S. use a mountain boy like me?
God gave me the right to be a free American,
And for that precious right I'd gladly die.
There's a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
That is where I want to live when I die.

Though I realize I'm crippled, that is true, sir,
Please don't judge my courage by my twisted leg.
Let me show my Uncle Sam what I can do, sir,
Let me help to bring the Axis down a peg.
If I do some great deed I will be a hero,
And a hero brave is what I want to be.
There's a Star-Spangled Banner waving somewhere,
In that heaven there should be a place for me.

by Paul Roberts

Letters In The Trenches

The post comes to us nightly, we hail the post with glee –
For now we’re not as many as once we used to be:
For some have done their fighting, packed up and gone away,
And many lads are sleeping – no sound will break their sleeping;
Brave lusty comrades sleeping in their little homes of clay.

We all have read our letters but there’s one untouched so far –
An English maiden’s letter to her sweetheart at the war:
And when we write in answer to tell her how he fell,
What can we say to cheer her, oh, what is now to cheer her?-
There’s nothing to cheer her; there’s just the news to tell.

We’ll write to her tomorrow and this is what we’ll say:
He breathed her name in dying; in peace he passed away:
No words about his moaning, his anguish and his pain,
When slowly, slowly dying – God! Fifteen hours in dying!
He lay all maimed and dying, alone upon the plain.

We often write to mothers, to sweethearts and to wives,
And tell how those who loved them had given up their lives.
If we’re not always truthful our lies are always kind –
Our letters lie to cheer them, to comfort and to help them –
Oh, anything to help them – the women left behind.

by Patrick MacGill
14th-Aug-2017 12:00 am - T.A. Girling,'The Salient'
The Salient

They come from Southern victories
Another tryst to keep,
They march along the well-known road
Where often through the night they trode
From Poperinghe to Ypres.

Down by the Gun Asylum
And past the famed Cloth Hall,
Old ruins now, more battered still,
Chateau, cathedral, hall and mill,
All tottering to their fall.

Out past their old entrenchments
To post just lately won,
And in the night they take their stand,
In concrete fort and shell-hole land,
Against the cowering Hun.

They march not on as strangers,
But those who bear the brief
To shed fresh glory on their sign,
Borne bravely in the fighting-line,
Canada's maple leaf.

The purpose of their coming
The graves of those shall speak
Who bore the first dread gas attack
And hurled the pressing foeman back
Or died at Zillebeke.

In Ypres' famous salient
They claim the right to share,
Whose most heroic deeds were done,
Most hardly wrested triumphs won,
Most losses suffered here.

And on the ridges forward
Canadian signals fly,
And in the lower land between,
Advancing through the fiery screen,
Canadian heroes die.

Yet forward, dauntless pressing,
The final goal assail,
And claim for Britain's Western sons
One more great victory 'mid the guns
The heights of Passchendaele.

by T.A. Girling
14th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Roland Majeau, 'Soldiers' Cry'
Soldiers' Cry

Talk of trouble is sent through the country
And we need an army
To fight for the right
Young men enlist and are sent to the battle
To fight the offender and help our allies

And the young men cry Oh Canada
Well gladly go and fight for thee
And the young men cry Oh Canada
Well fight to keep you free

The battles raging
Gun fire is blazing
A tired young soldier is clinging to life
Hes ordered off
And obeys by advancing
No hope of returning from the enemy fire

And the soldier cries Oh Canada
If it must be so, I'll die for thee
And the soldier cries Oh Canada
I'll die to keep you free

And we all miss oh Canada
The land where we all used to be
And we all long for Canada
The true north
strong and free

And the soldier cries Oh Canada
If it must be so, I'll die for thee
And the soldier cries Oh Canada
I'll die to keep you free

Far away we had seen a great danger
And yet there's a danger much greater within
The noise we make as we constantly bicker
Would hush not a whisper if we listen to him

All the thousands cry Oh Canada
Is that why we have died for thee?
And the soldiers cry Oh Canada
We died to keep you free

And the soldier cries oh Canada
Be true
And strong
For me

by Roland Majeau

Returning, We Hear The Larks

Sombre the night is.
And though we have our lives, we know
What sinister threat lurks there.

Dragging these anguished limbs, we only know
This poison- blasted track opens on our camp –
On a little safe sleep.

But hark! joy – joy – strange joy.
Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks.
Music showering our upturned list'ning faces.

Death could drop from the dark
As easily as song –
But song only dropped,
Like a blind man's dreams on the sand
By dangerous tides,
Like a girl's dark hair for she dreams no ruin lies there,
Or her kisses where a serpent hides.

by Isaac Rosenberg
12th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Ed Poynter, 'Orders From Higher'
Orders from Higher

“Hades Three Zero. This is Hades Zero... More patrols are necessary.
You will push further out in order to ‘Dominate’ and ‘Reassure’.
You will then pull back… Over.”

“Is there any chance of some air cover
or more sensitive IED-detecting kit?
Is there any chance of detailed maps
that distinguish between building and street?

“More patrols are necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“How about some reinforcements; more men,
in order to hold ground we fight to take?
Or a mission statement that justifies
the risk that patrolling necessitates?

“More patrols necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“The LOE for our daily patrols
Is not a distance plucked from the sky;
our estimate dictates that ‘reach’ should be
Governed by CASEVAC and resupply.

“More patrols necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“We do not have freedom of manoeuvre;
every alley and street is mined.
The enemy can engage us freely
but we’re unable to respond in kind.

“More patrols necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“Our presence provides no ‘reassurance’.
It invites reprisals when we withdraw.
Our ‘dominating’ effect isn’t only transient,
but predictable to all.

“More patrols necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“We are suffering heavy casualties
whilst trying to learn from each incident.
Changes to tactics, without support and
resources, are not easy to implement.

“More patrols necessary. Push further out.
Dominate and Reassure. Then pull back.

“We continue to vary things daily
to keep ‘tempo’, while trying to survive.
The only real ‘objective’ for now
is to keep, all those that are left, alive!

“More patrols necessary! Push out.
Dominate and Reassure. Pull back!

“Is anybody up there listening?
Does anyone actually care?
Your lack of respect for our judgement
and lack of faith in us are clear.
You find fault in our leadership
and ‘role-play’ bright ideas,
but what might look good on paper up there,
looks fucking suicidal down here!

“More patrols are necessary. You will push further out
in order to Dominate and Reassure. You will then pull back.
We’re all in the same boat you know,
now stop rocking the damned thing!
Play the game – lead by example
And stop this god-damn moaning!
More patrols ARE necessary! You WILL push further out
in order to ‘Dominate’ and ‘Reassure’.
You will then pull back.

by Ed Poynter
11th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - John C. Bird, 'Diners'

The rats dined well at Passchendaele,
meat on the menu every day,
a limb, a torso, a tasty entrail,
Served fresh in the Trench Café.
For wine they had a vintage red
with a bouquet of acrid water,
lifeblood of the newly dead,
in this consummate place of slaughter.

The brass-hats dined well at Command HQ
in a fine house well back from the front,
men of breeding accepting their due,
recalling good times with the hunt.
Cigars in hand, they passed the port,
raised their glasses for the toasts
to battles they had boldly fought
from secure headquarters posts.

The politicians dined well back in Blighty,
talked of a war to end all wars,
never doubting that God Almighty
was committed to the allied cause.
A minister, fortified with scotch,
at a recruitment rally in Poole,
insisted that Haig was top notch,
not, as some thought, a stubborn fool.

The troops did not dine well at Passchendaele
from a menu written in blood.
Each day they were served the same cocktail
of bullets, privation and mud.
But no complaints from the Trench Café
As the diners gathered en masse
to savour once more the human entrée,
seasoned with cordite and gas.

by John C. Bird
10th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Michael Brett, 'Bomb Attack'
Bomb Attack

The first pass is invisible.
Its slipstream can make a rock of the head
In a Turner seascape.
The bird, death, wanders the domes from ear to ear,
Sometimes deafening them;
Sometimes making them bleed.

Sometimes, it just lands.
Then, its stillness amazes you.
The fringes flickering over plastic eyes,
Amongst the corkscrew smoke and sirens.
It makes sparrows of men, men of sparrows.

Sparrows don’t want to die, either.
They paddle as fast as they can,
Away from the sparrow hawk death,
Whose wings are a shadow over the sun.

By Michael Brett
9th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - John Edgell, 'Trench Poets'
Trench Poets

I knew a man, he was my chum,
but he grew blacker every day,
and would not brush the flies away,
nor blanch however fierce the hum
of passing shells; I used to read,
to rouse him, random things from Donne -
like "Get with child a mandrake-root."
But you can tell he was far gone,
for he lay gaping, mackerel-eyed,
and stiff, and senseless as a post
even when that old poet cried
"I long to talk with some old lover's ghost."

I tried the Elegies one day,
But he, because he heard me say:
"What needst thou have no more covering than a man?"
grinned nastily, and so I knew
the worms had got his brains at last.
There was one thing that I might do
to starve the worms; I racked my head
for healthy things and quoted Maud.
His grin got worse and I could see
he sneered at passion's purity.
He stank so badly, though we were great chums
I had to leave him; then rats ate his thumbs.

by John Edgell
8th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Tony McNally, 'The Carrion Crow'
The Carrion Crow

The carrion crow is bursting
Thanks to the young men from Lancashire
Gangrenous innards adorning the French valley
Mrs Utterbridge at home in Blighty is hungry
But the carrion crow is sated
Her boy Alec 16 years old went to change the world
Beauty and innocence violently raped into the mud
By a German shell made in Berlin
The maker Mrs Shultz is hungry
Her boy Anton isn't
He isn't anything anymore
But the carrion crow is replete
Eating Alec's feet.

By Tony McNally
7th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Suzanne Nielsen, 'Sharing Moonlight'
Sharing Moonlight

Ruth has not heard from her cave-searching son
in 59 days. Not knowing how things are going
amidst the Afghan terrain causes her to sleep less,
eat more, bite her nails with enthusiasm,
and play with her hair. Yesterday she
pronounced that she was shaving her head
and surrendering to silk-lined gloves for
her own protection.

Regarding her sleep patterns she
insists on consulting the moon.
After all it’s the same moon that hovers
over her offspring 6,981.97 miles from the
Minneapolis boarder—the same moon
he sneaks peeks of while
she’s pretending to sleep.

By Suzanne Nielsen
Calling Doon the Line (The Piper’s Call)

The boys stood on the platform in 1917
Waiting for a train to Salisbury Plain
They were only in their teens.
A lad to his mother said dinnae fret
We’ll be home by Christmas day
And the piper played Scotland the Brave
As they waved the boys away

Calling doon the line
Calling doon the line
And they rallied roond to the pipers tune
(that was) Calling doon the line

The Sgt Major pushed them hard
They were trained in only days
For to bear the brunt of the Western front
They would soon be on their way
So off they marched, rifles shoulder high
And all at once they sang
For we’re no awa, tae bide awa
Tae the pipers in the band

Calling doon the line
Calling doon the line
And they rallied roond to the pipers tune
(that was) Calling doon the line

The thunder echoed through the trench
As the shells abin them rained
And the generals spent a thousand men
For every inch they gained
And the brave young men faced their battle dawn
So proud to do their jobs
And the piper stood in the line of fire
And played them ower the top

Calling doon the line
Calling doon the line
And they rallied roond to the pipers tune
(that was) Calling doon the line

When no man’s land fell silent
And they counted all the dead
The victory claimed would disguise the shame
And nothing more was said
And the fallen brave on a foreign field
They gave their very best
And the piper played a sad lament
As they laid the boys to rest

Calling doon the line
Calling doon the line
And they rallied roond to the pipers tune
(that was) Calling doon the line

And they rallied roond
Tae the pipers tune
That was calling doon
The line

By Alan G. Brydon

Two Suns in the Sunset

In my rear view mirror the sun is going down
Sinking behind bridges in the road
And I think of all the good things
That we have left undone
And I suffer premonitions
Confirm suspicions
Of the holocaust to come.

The wire that holds the cork
That keeps the anger in
Gives way
And suddenly it's day again.
The sun is in the east
Even though the day is done.
Two suns in the sunset
Could be the human race is run.

Like the moment when the brakes lock
And you slide towards the big truck
"Oh no!"
"[scream] Daddy, Daddy!"
You stretch the frozen moments with your fear.
And you'll never hear their voices
And you'll never see their faces
You have no recourse to the law anymore.

And as the windshield melts
My tears evaporate
Leaving only charcoal to defend.
Finally I understand the feelings of the few.
Ashes and diamonds
Foe and friend
We were all equal in the end.

"...and now the weather. Tomorrow will be cloudy with scattered showers
spreading from the east ... with an expected high of 4000 degrees

By Roger Waters

Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

5th-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Jerzy Ficowski, '5.8.1942'
In Memory of Janusz Korczak

What did the Old Doctor do
in the cattle wagon
bound for Treblinka on the fifth of August
over the few hours of the bloodstream
over the dirty river of time

I do not know

what did Charon of his own free will
the ferryman without an oar do
did he give out to the children
what remained of gasping breath
and leave for himself
only frost down the spine

I do not know

did he lie to them for instance
in small
numbing doses
groom the sweaty little heads
for the scurrying lice of fear

I do not know

yet for all that yet later yet here
in Treblinka
all their terror all the tears
were against him

oh it was only now
just so many minutes say a lifetime
whether a little or a lot
I was not there I do not know

suddenly the Old Doctor saw
the children had grown
as old as he was
older and older
that was how fast they had to go grey as ash

By Jerzy Ficowski
(translated by Keith Bosley)

Treblinka extermination camp

Last Survivor of Treblinka Dies at 93
Damn Passchendaele Ridge

An endless bog
A sea of mud
A foul smelling mire
Of blood and guts

A wasteland of soggy brown
No other colour to be found
In this both men and mule drown
Was this really once a town?

The shells keep on coming
Is this place not miserable enough?
Can't keep dry, can't keep safe
Oh boy are we doing it tough

And the rain keeps on falling
And the War will not stop
We are told to fix bayonets
Over sandbags we must hop

But our artillery is useless
Not enough guns made it to the front
So in the bog we get torn to pieces
Because our heavy artillery had sunk

Damn this war
Damn the weather
Damn the generals to the rear
Damn the bullets
Damn the shrapnel
Damn this Passchendaele Ridge

By 'Sacriphyx'

I Did Not Lose My Heart In Summer's Even

I did not lose my heart in summer's even,
When roses to the moonrise burst apart:
When plumes were under heel and lead was flying,
In blood and smoke and flame I lost my heart.

I lost it to a soldier and a foeman,
A chap that did not kill me but he tried;
And took the saber straight and took it striking
And laughed and kissed his hand to me and died.

by A. E. Housman
3rd-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Robert Nichols, 'Battle'

1. Noon

It is midday; the deep trench glares....
A buzz and blaze of flies....
The hot wind puffs the giddy airs....
The great sun rakes the skies.

No sound in all the stagnant trench
Where forty standing men
Endure the sweat and grit and stench,
Like cattle in a pen.

Sometimes a sniper's bullet whirs
Or twangs the whining wire,
Sometimes a soldier sighs and stirs
As in hell's frying fire.

From out a high, cool cloud descends
An aeroplane's far moan,
The sun strikes down, the thin cloud rends....
The black speck travels on.

And sweating, dizzied, isolate
In the hot trench beneath,
We bide the next shrewd move of fate
Be it of life or death.

2. Night Bombardment

Softly in the silence the evening rain descends....
The soft wind lifts the rain-mist, flurries it, and spends
Itself in mournful sighs, drifting from field to field,
Soaking the draggled sprays which the low hedges wield
As they labour in the wet and the load of the wind.
The last light is dimming. Night comes on behind.

I hear no sound but the wind and the rain,
And trample of horses, loud and lost again
Where the wagons in the mist rumble dimly on
Bringing more shell.
The last gleam is gone.
It is not day or night; only the mists unroll
And blind with their sorrow the sight of my soul.
I hear the wind weeping in the hollow overhead:
She goes searching for the forgotten dead
Hidden in the hedges or trodden into muck
Under the trenches or maybe limply stuck
Somewhere in the branches of a high, lonely tree -
He was a sniper once. They never found his body.

I see the mist drifting. I hear the wind, the rain,
And on my clammy face the oozed breath of the slain
Seems to be blowing. Almost I have heard
In the shuddering drift the lost dead's last word:
Go home, go home, go to my house,
Knock at the door, knock hard, arouse
My wife and the children - that you must do -
What d' you say? - Tell the children too -
Knock at the door, knock hard, and arouse
The living. Say: the dead won't come back to this house.
Oh... but it's cold - I soak in the rain -
Shrapnel found me - I shan't go home again.
No, not home again - The mourning voices trail
Away into rain, into darkness... the pale
Soughing of the night drifts on in between.

The Voices were as if the dead had never been.

O melancholy heavens, O melancholy fields!
The glad, full darkness grows complete and shields
Me from your appeal.

With a terrible delight
I hear far guns low like oxen, at the night.

Flames disrupt the sky. The work is begun.
"Action!" My guns crash, flame, rock, and stun
Again and again. Soon the soughing night
Is loud with their clamour and leaps with their light.

The imperative chorus rises sonorous and fell:
My heart glows lighted as by fires of hell,
Sharply I pass the terse orders down.
The guns stun and rock. The hissing rain is blown
Athwart the hurtling shell that shrilling, shrilling goes
Away into the dark to burst a cloud of rose
Over their trenches.

A pause: I stand and see
Lifting into the night like founts incessantly,
The pistol-lights' pale spores upon the glimmering air...
Under them furrowed trenches empty, pallid, bare....
And rain snowing trenchward ghostly and white,
O dead in the hedges, sleep ye well to-night!

by Robert Nichols
2nd-Aug-2017 01:00 am - Sabaton, 'The Price of a Mile'
The Price of a Mile

Hear the sound of a machinegun
Hear it echo in the night
Mortars firing rains the scene
Scars the fields
that once were green

It's a stalemate at the frontline
where the soldiers rest in mud
roads and houses
all is gone
there is no glory to be won

know that many men will suffer
know that many men will die
half a million lives at stake
Ask the fields of Passchendaele

And as the night falls the general calls
and the battle carries on and on
How long?
What is the purpose of it all
What's the price of a mile?

Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army on the march
Long way from home
Paying the price in young men's lives
Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army in despair
Knee-deep in mud
Stuck in the trench with no way out

Thousands of machineguns
Kept on firing through the night
Mortars blazed and wrecked the scene
Guns in the fields that once were green

Still a deadlock at the frontline
Where the soldiers die in mud
roads and houses since long gone
still no glory has been won
know that many men has suffered
know that many men has died

Six miles of ground has been won
Half a million men are gone
And as the men crawled the general called
And the killing carried on and on
How long?
What's the purpose of it all?
What's the price of a mile?

Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army on the march
Long way from home
Paying the price in young men's lives
Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army in despair
Knee-deep in mud
Stuck in the trench with no way out

Young men are dying
They pay the price
Oh how they suffer
So tell me what's the price of a mile

That's the price of a mile.

Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army on the march
Long way from home
Paying the price in young men's lives
Thousands of feet march to the beat
It's an army in despair
Knee-deep in mud
Stuck in the trench with no way out

by 'Sabaton'

Dry August Burned

Dry August burned. A harvest hare
Limp on the kitchen table lay,
Its fur blood-blubbered, eye astare,
While a small child that stood near by
Wept out her heart to see it there.

Sharp came the clop of hoofs, the clang
Of dangling chain, voices that rang
Out like a leveret she ran,
To feast her glistening bird-clear eyes
On a team of field artillery
Gay, to manaeuvres, thudding by.
Spur and gun and limber plate
Flashed in the sun. Alert, elate,
Noble horses, foam at lip,
Harness, stirrup, holster, whip,
She watched the sun-tanned soldiery,
Till dust-white hedge had hidden away —
Its din into a rumour thinned —
The laughing, jolting, wild array:
And then — the wonder and tumult gone —
Stood nibbling a green leaf, alone,
Her dark eyes, dreaming. . . . She turned, and ran,
Elf-like, into the house again.
The hare had vanished. . . . ' Mother, ' she said,
Her tear-stained cheek now flushed with red,
' Please, may I go and see it skinned? '

By Walter de la Mare
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