What Daddy Did In The Great War Poem by Mel Carter

What Daddy Did In The Great War

"Old soldiers never die, nor even fade away"

He marched in measured meter to the mud-merged mitrailleuse;
Trod treadmill trudge, through sewage sludge, where no-man's nod confers
Ghastly gloom with a mustard plume
On typhus-tainted troops:
The green-gas sear and fumbling fear
Of gasping, groping groups.

He over-topped the sniper's shot, out-stepped the trench-foot mire,
Fought phosgene fume, ere poppy's bloom flamed Flanders fields of fire.
Close comrades maimed, their corpses claimed
By charnel-churned morass:
In mouldered gear, they flounder drear
Where whistling whizz-bangs pass.

Mustered, mastered, mortified, ammunition fed,
Bronzed and ironed, brassed and tinned, steeled against the lead.
Though drilled and skilled, were untold stilled,
Shell-shocked and shrapnel torn.
Centenary year will call out clear
The Last Post farewell horn,

To the Unknown khaki Tommy, who would not go away,
It's "Thank you, Mr Atkins, " as the bands strike up to play
And when they do, we'll sorely rue
Lives lost that cost so dear,
Lone ophans left, loved ones bereft:
Fond memories in a tear.

"I had not thought death had undone so many"
(T S Eliot: The Wasteland)

O it's Tommy this, an'Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you Mister Atkins, " when the band begins to play.
(Rudyard Kipling: Tommy)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Topic(s) of this poem: memorial
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