Tales of War

Gathering dust and clinging webs
The attic cache lies in wait
Trunks and boxes long untouched
The time has come to investigate

Sepia photos, cracked and faded
Sticking pages, broken binding
Letters home, bound with twine
The tales of war, I am finding

Peruse the pictures, study the faces
So full of youthful determination
His postures straight, those twinkling eyes
Would soon be witness to an extermination

Ravaged, disfigured, lungs burned by gas
Returned to England, the war barely survived
Haunted by nightmares, wracked by cough
This broken man came home to die

War upon his sweetheart, laid the burden
Tore away the chance for a happy life
For the babe that quickened in 1914
Was all that he left his beloved wife

(Header image: The Ypres Salient at Night – Paul Nash, artist)

43 thoughts on “Tales of War

  1. I have often wondered, even today, how the wives of servicemen handle their husbands being away with the possibility of no return. Especially with children — sometimes children he’s not even met yet. I cannot imagine being one of those wives… I already worry too much as it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love poetry that tells a story and takes us to another time and place. The soldiers and their families are really the victims as much as anybody else

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a professional assignment in Poland for a while and learned the devastating effect on families there, even a couple generations later

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I was about 30 at the time and was drinking with a professional colleague, who was Polish, and the subject of his grandparents came up innocently enough. It was a very difficult and enlightening conversation for an American Midwesterner who grew up in the most sheltered environment.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Meg, please delete my very inappropriate comment that was a whimsical response to a comment on my blog. I am embarrassed and apologize

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of a scene in Homeland(The TV series) when everyone was waiting for a speech from Brody(the former POW) and then his wife stood and made a speech that was way more moving. The effects of the wars are felt at home. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

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