i. She loves me
Come, let us glorify the war dead.
No mention of wives sleeping in empty bed,
the rivers of tears mothers shed,
or the lives they could have lead.
Wear you now the poppy red.
Repeat the lies politicians said,
in newspapers young men read,
and to death were easily lead.
Forget you now how they bled,
the fear and dread,
as on corpses young men thread.
Bellies full of mouldy bread.
Hear you now the worms their bodies fed?
See you now the destroyed homestead,
where happy farmers once were wed,
torn asunder by falling lead?
ii. She loves me not.
Come how valiant the war dead,
as we forget only the poor bled.
Not son of Prince but that of pauper,
ever gave their lives in pointless slaughter.
Wealthy sons drinking Brandy and rum.
Tapping their glasses to the beat of the artillery drum.
Cosseted far from harm,
the lordlings cried “never disarm.”
Over the trenches the ploughman’s son,
walks nervously towards an enemy gun,
as soldiers flow in waves.
Reluctant to their early graves.
Irish lives sold to buy a nation’s freedom,
young men joined the foreigner’s legion.
By guile and lies they were betrayed,
in the earth in Flanders their bodies laid.
Bodies lay side by side with English brothers,
those of Welsh, Scot and many others.
Urged forth by friendly guns,
fight bravely, for we shoot he who runs.
iii. Where Shall I Lie?
Come now let us forget those that survived,
returned home to lives deprived.
Men twisted by wartime trauma,
now treated as less than fauna.
Dreams of artillery fire and mustard gas,
marred the nights of the underclass.
Now too savage for general society,
they were sent next door to earn notoriety.
Set loose upon a civilian population,
war-scarred men inflicted devastation.
In every shadow seeing the German Hun,
whether truth be mother, child or brother’s son.
The same lordlings sit drinking brandy and rum,
waiting for their neighbours to fall under thumb.
Removed from the lives of their fellow man,
ignoring suffering reclined on the divan.
iv In A Nameless Plot
Now their grandsons run the kingdom,
also knowing nothing to fear from.
Deaths of common men they glorify
but never will they meet their eye.
Setting policies to attack the poor,
thin them out through poverty, not through war.
They claim the need for austerity,
that there’s no room today for charity.
Yet we see unfair redistribution of wealth
given to banks, taken by stealth.
The painted whore of quantitative easing,
to Etonians is disproportionately pleasing.
“Britons need to work like the US or China”,
as greed bloated CEOs wipe away saliva.
Wage conditions tantamount to slavery,
ignore when banks act unsavoury.
They laud the idea of a living wage,
while promises on tax credits they renege.
A war against the lower and middle class,
Treating the public as an unwashed mass.
Men and women poisoned by wealth and power,
set scornful glances from their ivory tower.
Prop their pillows on the suffering of the poor,
listen close, they only ever say “more, more, more”