The Bench Poem by Tom Higgins

The Bench

The old men who used to sit on the bench,
When young together occupied a stinking trench,
Where they'd wonder if they'd ever again see,
Their wives and sweethearts, and if there'd ever be,
A future for them to look forward to,
Or whether today would just have to do.

The next day, and so on, just the same,
They'd hope and pray for release, but it never came,
Unless their misery was brought to a final stop,
When a fatal wound they would suddenly cop.
Or if they were 'lucky' and not yet quite dead,
With a serious wound to the torso or even to the head,

They could be on a hospital ship back to Blighty,
Giving thanks to their lord god almighty,
Who they thought had looked down on the great battlefield,
And on this occasion he'd decided to yield,
To their pleading heard above the battle's sounds,
As they screamed to him for mercy from the killing grounds.

Yes, hundreds of young men dying by the minute,
Who, despite all the horrors they kept trying to win it,
With gas, and bullets, and shells together,
Neither side stopping to consider whether,
They saw one another as being of humankind,
This thought was put right at the back of the mind,

As they fought out the great bankers fight,
For who's money would buy them the right,
To control the whole world, to have it all,
The problem is those bankers never fall.
And on they ploughed and duly applied,
Their penal reparations to the losing side.

They then said the world would now come together,
Just like saying they could control the weather,
Then they all reacted with such great surprise,
As the little Austrian corporal and his gang began to rise,
And proceeded to extract their vengeance for,
Their loss of face in the First World War,

By starting another one this time far worse,
As if they were driven by some sort of Satanic curse,
And even the evil ones were backed all the way to the bank,
So who do the fifty million dead really have to thank,
For their total destruction, their removal from history?
This is just another great financial mystery!

Tom Higgins 13/01/2013

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