Charlie F. Kane

Rookie (14/1/1989 / Solihull, Birmingham)

Never Again? - An Anti-War Poem Cycle - Poem by Charlie F. Kane

1- What Was It Like?
What was it was it like,
Before all the wars?
Were all the people then innocent?
Did they still believe
In the wonders and mystery of the world?
Did they wonder what was out there in space,
Did they ponder what could possibly be in the deep oceans?

Did they understand the concept of a massacre?
Would have seen sense in the wars we would fight?
Did they know that we would build weapons
That they only dreamed about back then?
I wonder,
What was it like,
Before all the wars?

2- It’ll All Be Over By Christmas
At the dawn of ’14,
The people of merry old England,
Passed each over in the streets,
And the words on people’s lips
Told of a war brewing in Europe,
If Britain gets involved,
They said,
It’ll all be over by Christmas.

But many Christmases past,
And with each one
A family would learn
About the loss of their father,
Their brother,
Their friend,
Their lover.
It’ll all be over by Christmas,
They said.

3- Somme
The deep black mud of the Somme
Was only highlighted
By the flash of light from a falling bomb,
Emphasising the blood of a former comrade.
Private Jones sat with them in the trenches,
Cradling a rifle as if holding a child.
Like the rest of ‘em,
He was waiting for the whistle to blow.
Then they would jump to attention,
And over the top,
In a vain effort
To move the dearly beloved
Field Marshall Haig’s
Drinks cabinet an inch closer
To Berlin.

When the whistle came,
The good ol’ boys
Of Company E,
Leapt over the top,
To drive headlong into their graves.
Private Jones ran fast as he could,
Running from the devil,
Who was only chasing him into Hell.
Private Jones last thoughts
Lay with his family in Wales.
He thought fondly of the Welsh countryside
In which he had a childhood he never forgot.
He thought of the smell of his dear old Mam’s
Cooking on a Sunday morning after church.

He smiled thinking of his life before the war,
And he kept on smiling until seconds later,
He was caught in a hail of bullets.
And Private Jones lay down
With the rest of the Sacrificial Lambs.

4- 14
He was only 14 when he died.
His mates always said he looked
A lot older than he appear.
All the other boys at school
Would have loved to have gone
On a boys-own-adventure
To fight in war.

When he enlisted he was the talk
Of the town.
No one minded he did it,
They were all so proud.
He was going off to travel across
The Europe.

His Ma and Pa
Were so proud
That he would fight
For his country.

When they waved goodbye,
They didn’t think
That they wouldn’t see him again.
He was only 14 when he died.

5-Never Again
In the dark old Britain of ’19,
They talked of the war in Europe,
They had won, at a cost.
Never again, they said,
Never again will we allow this to happen.
Let this be a lesson to all,
They sad.

Never again?
They lied.

6- Run Like Hell
You better run,
Little piggy,
‘Cos we’re onto you,
We know what you are,
And we’re all after you.

We don’t like you,
‘Cos he sez
We can’t,
So I’m onto you,
Little piggy,
You better run.

We don’t like you Jews,
You have big noses,
An’ take all me money,
‘Better run
Filthy, little piggy,
Cos’ I’m onto you.

‘Ere,
Over ‘ere,
I found one,
This one doesn’t look white,
An’ look at the nose on that one,
Look at the queer boy over there!
We’re all onto you,
Little piggy,
So you better run!

We’ll shove in the furnace
‘Cos that’s the only
Thing to do.

7- Bleak ‘39
The Great War comes again.
Mark two starts now,
In bleak ’39,
20 years after the last one,
And we’re doing the same again.

8- Veterans
The fields lie still with crosses,
The grass,
Never greener,
Never finer,
Highlighting the anonymous
White cross that are placed
In an orderly pattern across it.

How many of you lie there,
Underneath all the people
Who trampled across
Your memory everyday?
Do they understand all you gave?
Do they know what you went through?
Would they care?

If the dead envy the living,
The living truly envy the dead,
The dead’s memories are retained,
But the livings are neglected.
Our veterans sit,
Decomposing in a
‘Rest’ home somewhere,
Slowly ticking away the days
Before their time runs out.

Looking at the world today,
Was it worth it?
After all you did,
Have we thrown it all away?

9- War Games
Two children play at school,
Each with a finger shaped
To resemble a gun.
Bang, bang,
Boom, boom,
You’re dead they say.

Two world-leaders sit in their offices,
With fingers pointing down
Towards a little run button,
Bang, bang,
Boom, boom,
You’ll be dead they say.

10- Mark III
When the time has come,
They will start the third,
And probably final war.
In a blast all we fought for,
All that we built,
All we ruined,
All we ever loved,
All we ever hated,
All we cared for,
Everything we brought,
All we corrupted,
All we liberated,
All we moved,
All we toppled,
Will fall in one
Might blast
With a power beyond that
Of a God.

11- What Was It Like (Reprised)
What was it like,
Before the final war?
Were the peopled corrupted?
Did they have all the answers
To the mysteries of the world?
Did they really conquer space?
Did they go to the bottom of the deep oceans?

Why did they allow a massacre?
Why did they see sense in the final war?
Why did they build weapons,
That only few could dream of?
I wonder,
What was it like,
Before the final war?

©Charlie F. Kane

28/04/06


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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 28, 2006

Poem Edited: Tuesday, July 20, 2010


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