I resist the urge to shiver, as these cold drops of rain fall,
Soaking me through on this damp November day,
As across the lane I hear the last ship leave the port.
The sight of those men in garb of war sailing slow from shore,
And I know that ne'er more shall I see their smiling faces lit,
That the flame of war shall e'er more extinguish the light of love.
While the whistle blows and the waves crash I cannot shudder off
This feeling of helpness, of loss, of regret.
And the words of the speaker, who earlier today had rallied so many-
Perhaps more than came to see off our boys-
With his chorus of 'Let english boys die in English wars'
And perhaps as the words echo in my head I alone remember,
I alone remember those overcast hours he had spoken this afternoon.
I alone recall with a silent shiver my own fleeting youth,
The dreams of glory in far off France as I boarded my own transport.
The fear in the training camps was dulled by the promise of women,
Of fair pay, of adventure both near and far. Perhaps, as well I suppose,
By the thought of seeing the savage Hun in dark garb of war.
But today is another day, the boys are fresh boys,
Lured by their own promises of excitement and reward.
So today, as the cold November rain seeps into my old coat,
I put one hand o'er my heart, one o'er my scars,
And I drag my ruined body from the port with a tear in my eye
And sorrow in my heart. I ne'er shall forget those boys who,
Like so many years before, sailed with the same optimism,
And who now lay 'neath the cold fields of France.
Once more I whisper that chorus, 'let English boys die in English wars'
And I limp back to my empty house.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.