King and Country.
So war was declared,
The fervour, almost all shared.
Patriotism, the country was swept,
Tears of fear and pride were wept.
Kitchener, hundred thousand he had hoped for,
However, over one million signed up for war.
Along with the mature men,
Many were still boys, children!
Hundreds of them had applied,
They and authorities both lied!
The more they recruit,
Both sides it would suit!
Eager to join the war, the fray,
And make the ‘Bosh’, ‘Fritz’ pay.
Some within the ‘pals’ battalions and brigades.
Proud as punch in uniforms and the parades.
Full of adventure and bravado,
Real ‘boys own’ they could not wait to go.
All were of the mind, believing,
That they would be back by the festive season.
Arriving at the front, on a front line trench,
Along with smells of cordite and human stench.
Looking at bodies in ‘no mans land’ contorted,
Where another ‘advance’ was thwarted.
Marching past dead comrades, feelings supressed.
Their faces express ‘quite shock’ at what they had witnessed.
Those solemn faces realized the stark reality of war,
Into their eyes and consciousness it tore.
Amid those numb minding scenes, gunfire did sound,
As the mature and ‘youth’ took positions ‘in’ the ground.
Just a Boy.
Only a boy but with a mans’ heart,
He wanted to play his part.
He was shot physically but only a ‘bit’!
Patched up, and then was declared fit.
Back once again to the front,
Another explosion he did confront.
Becoming once again another casualty,
Deafened and ‘shell-shocked’ mentally.
Sanctioned fit again, to the front again sent,
The opposite ‘direction’ he went.
Wandering away to where he had been billeted,
Where only three weeks before he had been treated.
Arrested and accused of desertion,
‘Guilty’ was the army’s conclusion.
He had made a “Not Guilty” plea,
The army would never agree.
Justice was never going to be offered to him,
After all the army had to keep ‘discipline’!
A French lady had gave ‘evidence’,
This determined the final sentence!
It read; “Deserting His Majesty’s Service, ”
“To Suffer Death By Being Shot”, for Private Harris.
Yes, ‘only’ the firing squad he was given,
He had only the ‘sixteen’ years of living!
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem