Frederick Kesner

Rookie - 252 Points (28 August / St. Thomas University Hospital)

Shot At Dawn - Poem by Frederick Kesner

This poem does not condone desertion
nor is it a proponent of summary execution
or the use of capital punishment as a deterrent.



The citizen army of August 1914
saw in its time 8Million signed up
resulting in 750,000 dead
of this 300/3000 executed.

This is the tale of just one life.


Shot at Dawn
`




At nineteen you were still a child
hopping off to an aggrandised war
filled with romantic and exuberant air

At nineteen you travelled over the channel
to Mons, by the Belgian border marching
there receiving the horrors of humiliated retreat

At nineteen you went missing
first in Dublin taking leave without permission
now in France and sought for desertion


At nineteen you were a fugitive
hiding from town to town
filled with fear and personal loathing
without destination, without future


At nineteen you were confronted
by a baron's gamekeeper
whisked from barn to court marshall

At nineteen you met the iron will
of a military court in face of disaster
you were the first deserter to be convicted

As far as publicly convenient, within two days
without showing the world we shoot our own
At nineteen you marched out, first light of dawn

And in the half light of a new day
in an unmarked grave by the road
At nineteen ceremoniously executed and hastily buried

A queue of poplar trees with arms outstretched
lifted plaintive prayers to the war torn sky
At nineteen hope flew as far as the eye can see

Shortly before dawn, escorted by armed guards
tied to a post, blindfolded, white cloth to the heart
At nineteen your regiment paraded through gun smoke

An exemplary deterrent to all West Kents
rifles cracked from shaking arms
At nineteen you were shot at dawn









`
Pvt. Thomas James Highgate (19)
Royal West Kents
d.08-09-1914


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem does not condone desertion
nor is it a proponent of summary execution
or the use of capital punishment as a deterrent.



The citizen army of August 1914
saw in its time 8Million signed up
resulting in 750,000 dead
of this 300/3000 executed.

This is the tale of just one such life:
Pvt. Thomas James Highgate (19)
Royal West Kents
d.08-09-1914

Comments about Shot At Dawn by Frederick Kesner

  • Dr.tony Brahmin (5/18/2016 5:33:00 AM)


    My God! ! ! ! ! ! sooooooo terrible, what a sad story my dear poet....... but to think that this is reality in so many nations of the world it gives a shrudder..... it makes me tremble........... we poets should write a lot about such atrocities..... our pen should grow strong to write agains all the evils of the society....... thank you my dear poet for this marvelous poem........ tony (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 9, 2011

Poem Edited: Tuesday, December 18, 2012


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