Bernard Franklin

Rookie (14 Aug- 1958 / Bath, Somerset)

Futility - Poem by Bernard Franklin

When artillery shells come whistling in,
like wild banshees in the night.
It’s enough to turn the bravest man,
a deathly shade of white.

The Maxim gun starts chattering,
spitting out it’s deadly hail.
No one can survive in no mans land,
it’s too far beyond the pale.

The smell of cordite hangs so heavy,
as the troops are torn apart.
The dead and the dying are bundled up,
then led off on a cart.

To get three lights from just one match,
is a stupid senseless crime.
For the sniper lying just across the brow,
just likes to take his time.

Their diet of bully beef and bread,
leaves much to be desired.
The men are weak, are always cold,
and oh so very tired.

The rat infested trenches,
are then harbingers of doom.
For the thousands of men all huddled inside,
there really isn’t room.

The men all stand up in their trench,
their bayonets fixed and ready.
Some say a prayer or cross themselves,
their nerves aren’t calm or steady.

Then it’s up and out and over the top,
to lose their lives is on the cards.
Almost twenty thousand men are lost,
to gain just twenty yards.

After four long years of fighting,
how dear has been the cost? .
For they’re right back where they started,
no land gained and no land lost.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 12, 2010

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