Military Poetry

Les Fleurs de Normandie.

On Norman soil, they fought and died.
Now young men's graves in rows abound.
In Mother Earth's arms, now sanctified,
The fragrant flowers of our youth are found.

And yet, to rise again, as in a distant song.
Small voices that call, in dead of night.
Fleeting figures only in our dreams belong.
Alas, they fade, in dawn's bright light.

I see them yet, a sad, forgotten throng.
Shadowed, lost faces, marching on.
Over dusty roads, and high golden corn.
The call of long lost friends are borne.

We must not forget, the flowers of our days,
Lest they lay unquiet, in numbered graves.
For we lived, and loved, and life was sweet.
Still yet, for us, awaits our last retreat.

Flowers of our youth, now long since past.
Our sweet autumn days are fading fast.
We, who are left, flowered in our prime.
Enjoyed golden moments, on borrowed time.

Remember our friends, who passed this way.
For all our tomorrow's, they gave their today's,
On Utah and Omaha, Juno, Sword and Gold.
Oh! Dear Lord! See that they grow not old.

Swordman Brian
Summer days of June.

Do ghostly battles rage across
The misty fields of France
And if we listen closely now?
hear the sounds of their advance

Do the ghosts of the infantry,
in open battle order march?
Was that a man’s last despairing
scream, across the river marsh?

All at once a hot steel splinter,
Quick sudden spurts of blood
Flesh flayed down to ivory bone
Soaks the blood bespattered mud

In that quiet moment of early dawn
Distant the sound of war, now far away
Do wounded call? Waiting to be saved
Now long ago, another summer’s day

And yet in this quiet lonely moment
When all natures voices came still
Across the ripe swaying corn fields
The bocage, where we came to kill.

I still hear the guns of Normandy
But that was long ago, the distant past
The loss of friends, when we were young
Their memory forever lasts
Brian Guy
Normandy. 6th of June. 1944
Hermanville sur mer Church.
The broken Church Bells rang out on D. Day.
The first joyous Bells of freedom to ring out
in France since the Nazi occupation.

"Freedoms Bells".
Veterans! Now that we are old and frail.
Our gift of Freedom, still prevails.
On Englands green and pleasant land
No foreign troops have laid their hand
Listen! Hear the Bells of Hermanville?
We who fought there, hear them still.

Across the years, our memories saved.
Of fine young men, who's lives they gave.
No song of lark, there, in darkened sky.
In front of Caen, we all came to die.
In high golden corn, our wounded fell.
Then burned to death, for Freedoms Bell.

Pegasus Bridge, came under fierce attack.
Our friends are dead, No! don't look back.
Listen? Is that the English Bells we hear?
From across the sea, to drown our fear?
For Mother Earth claims those that fall.
With soft Norman earth, to cover all.

For what lay ahead, fear gripped my soul.
For the guns must be paid, a human toll.
Pounded in our Norman orchard here,
While men went mad, and died from fear.
Tell me? is that the call of Freedoms Bell?
Or is it the harsh strident chimes of Hell?

Time will not heal, the wounds of soul.
Nor still the Bells of Freedoms toll.
For young men that died, are waiting yet.
Across the years, their hands outstretch.
"Forget me not, just speak my name.
And call me back, from where I've lain".

For Freedoms grace, is valiant won.
Fought for, by Brothers, Fathers, Son.
Unfurl the flag, that they died to save.
Then fly it high, and recall the brave.
Now Freedoms Bells, are muted, still.
Our hopes and dreams are not fulfilled.

On darkened, late, Mid-summers night.
With restless dreams, before dawns light.
Familiar faces gather, call my name.
Come! for Freedoms Bell, lets fight again!
Then into battle, with troubled dreams.
Watch men die, scream, curse, blaspheme.

For we, who are old, the guns still roar.
And long forgotten, young voices call.
Searching mortars, for humans seek.
To maim and kill, and wounding's wreak.
Hear the screams of men, in mortal pain?
Are those the Bells? That dread refrain?

Now, Freedoms Bells no longer ring.
The debts not paid, and greed is King.
We, still live the years of mighty deeds.
And grieve for our fallen, our wounded bleed.
Who will ring the Bell of Freedoms song?
When we are gone? When we are gone?

Brian Guy. Swordman
Sapper! Veteran! Old Buffer!
246 Field Company R.E. Eighth Brigade.
Third British Infantry Division.
Monty’s Ironsides
Do You Remember Soldier?

The turbulent sea, on that far and distant shore.
Bursting rockets flash, and mighty cannons roar.
"Queen" red, an epic story, still waiting to unfold.
Where lie hidden beaches "Sword" and "Gold".

Remember Soldier
Hot Norman sun and dust, the fields of waving corn,
So many dear friends we lost, so little time to mourn.
The sounds of battle are faded, and far distant now.
Gone, the chilling mindless fear, cold and sweating brow.

Remember Soldier?

The incoming tide, the rough salty Channel's spray.
Remember our fine young men, who sadly died that day,
So innocent and untried, to storm the Norman shore.
What unknown valiant deeds took place, in that fog of war.

Remember Soldier!

Machine gun and mortar fire, swept the beach with death.
"S" mines exploding in the air, blasts hot and fiery breath.
"Schu" mines shattered young men's limbs, gory splintered bone.
They cannot father children now, no children's voices home.

Remember Soldier?

Advance inland, the Sappers call! "Bash on, Bash on, Bash on!"
Then to Pegasus Bridge, to raft and bridge, now, all sadly gone.
"Hillman's" guns stood in our way, unmarked, untouched, it stood.
Heroic acts by Sappers here, then died in Le Besiley Wood.

Remember Soldier?

Hermanville and Benouville, we took along the way.
Then on to Caen, destroyed, one dreadful Summers day.
Across the Orne, now Goodwood, raised its ugly head.
Eighth Brigade will lead, why us? let others lead instead.

Remember Soldier?

To Vire at last, but wounded now, and soaked in blood.
Exhausted, stained with gore, and dirty Norman mud.
The chase is on! down Tinchebray road, vicious battle's rage.
To Falaise, the Enemy surrounded, and safely in the cage.

Remember Soldier.

Did it really happen to us, in those distant summer days?
Are we the same valiant men, who took part in the fray?
Sadly now, we are old and tired, but still remain unbowed.
Why not? why not indeed, we should all be very proud.

Remember Soldier.

Where would Europe be, had Hitler had his way.
His dark age, now removed, men look for better days.
Buchenwald and Belson, sadly stained the Earth.
Because of us, a new Europe, has already given birth.

Remember Soldier!

We who paid a dreadful price, pride, will dull our pain.
Beware, that darkened evil sky's, must never spread again.
Those who paid the greatest price, rest easy in your grave.
Because of you, we shall never be, a Nation, bowed, enslaved.

Do You Remember Soldier?
"Of course you do, and never will forget"!
Brian Guy. Sapper. 246 Field Company R. E. Eighth Brigade.
Third British Infantry Division. 29th of July 1999.
A Soldier's Kiss
by Henry Chappell

Only a dying horse! pull off the gear,
And slip the needless bit from frothing jaws,
Drag it aside there, leaving the road way clear,
The battery thunders on with scarce a pause.

Prone by the shell-swept highway there it lies
With quivering limbs, as fast the life-tide fails,
Dark films are closing o'er the faithful eyes
That mutely plead for aid where none avails.

Onward the battery rolls, but one there speeds
Needlessly of comrades voice or bursting shell,
Back to the wounded friend who lonely bleeds
Beside the stony highway where he fell.

Only a dying horse! he swiftly kneels,
Lifts the limp head and hears the shivering sigh
Kisses his friend, while down his cheek there steals
Sweet pity's tear, "Goodbye old man, Goodbye".

No honours wait him, medal, badge or star,
Though scarce could war a kindlier deed unfold;
He bears within his breast, more precious far
Beyond the gift of kings, a heart of gold.
Base details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. "Poor young chap,"
I'd say--"I used to know his father well;
Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap."
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die--in bed.

Seigfried Sassoon

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