Poem for OP BANNER

Hexi Bloke

Old-Salt
THE OTHER SIDE OF HELL
The flash, the bang, the brick dust,
the smell of acrid smoke,
the Soldier was just sitting there,
had this all been a joke?

The instant searing pain had gone,
and now he looked around,
the buildings and the street had gone,
no pavements on the ground.

He looked around in panic,
his comrades were not there,
the whole Patrol had been as one,
when he’d walked into the square.

He stood and stretched, then he reached down,
for his rifle and his pack,
the valley stretched in front of him,
there was no turning back.

The grass was green,
the cloudless sky was clear, but no sun shone,
no living thing, no bird, no bee, he was the only one?
The direction of the winding path he could not guess or tell,
he did not know that journey’s end was the other side of Hell.


A figure walked towards him,
and now his spirits rose,
the man must be a Soldier,
he was wearing Soldiers clothes.
A tunic red a crossbelt white,
a Musket held at ease,
he met up with our traveller,
beside a grove of trees.

‘Hello’ said our man with a smile,
‘I think I’ve lost my way,
I must get back to Belfast Town,
before the close of day’.
‘that’s a problem’, said the man,
‘I’m not sure what you’ll do,
this area is for all the lads,
that fell at Waterloo’.


He pointed far across the Vale,
towards a distant mound,
‘I’ve heard tell that others occupy that forward ground.
Just follow on until you hear,
the tolling of a bell,
and you will surely find the route,
to the other side of Hell’.


With a smile and a wave,
our Soldier left his new and helpful friend,
and presently the track swung left,
around a sunken bend.
A group of men stood in a trench,
the grass had turned to mud,
they were dirty and dishevelled,
and ones head was caked in blood.
‘Stay down that man!’
Their leader cried, ‘To stand invites a bomb!
you don’t go strolling round like that
when fighting on the Somme’.
‘I’m sorry Sir’, our Soldier said,
‘but I think that I am lost,
I must rejoin my Unit soon,
I can’t regard the cost’.


The Captain frowned then crawled across
to where the Soldier lay.
He pulled a map case from his side
and pointed out the way.
‘I’m sorry if I startled you
I didn’t mean to yell,
but please keep low or you won’t reach
the other side of Hell’.

Our young man crawled until he felt,
that it was safe to stand,
then marvelled how the land had changed,
the mud becoming sand.
A burnt out tank now greeted him,
two Soldiers at it’s base,
a can of tea was boiling up
a smile upon each face.

‘Na then me lad doest thou want a brew?’
the grinning Corporal said.
‘It’s strong and thick and would even put,
a smile upon the dead’.

The Soldier joined those Desert Rats,
in that barren, timeless place
and drank with them the tea
that put a smile upon his face.

He thanked them both and then asked again
the directions to his goal,
the smiling Corporal’s message added laughter to his soul.
‘Just cross those dunes and you’ll soon get,
that old familiar smell
that lets you know that you have reached the other side of Hell’.

The black and threatening streets
with burning cars now filled his view,
and soon our hero saw some Soldier’s that he knew.
Near seven hundred men
assembled in that place
and others too would soon set out
that lonely path to trace.

He took his place along with mates
that he would always see,
fighting there on ghostly streets,
for all eternity.

All Soldiers who, for centuries died,
with weapons in their hand,
will always have a place reserved
here in Valhalla’s land.

And whilst their earth bound friends forget,
the sacrifice they made,
and whilst Cenotaphs are vandalised and children memories fade,
the fight goes on with Soldiers new,
so we will always tell,
the stories of the men who’ve seen……the other side of Hell.

Dedicated to all the fallen and to the veterans of the Northern Ireland Conflict 1969 - 2007
 
(Flippancy warning)

There once was a man called Martin,
Insisted a shooting he didn’t take part in,
Despite all the sounds,
Of incoming rounds,
A peace process he then went on startin’


Edit: Alternative ending.

There once was a man called Martin,
Insisted a shooting he didn’t take part in,
Divis flats where quite near,
So he had nothing to fear,
As his comrades were also therein.
 
Last edited:
THE OTHER SIDE OF HELL
The flash, the bang, the brick dust,
the smell of acrid smoke,
the Soldier was just sitting there,
had this all been a joke?

The instant searing pain had gone,
and now he looked around,
the buildings and the street had gone,
no pavements on the ground.

He looked around in panic,
his comrades were not there,
the whole Patrol had been as one,
when he’d walked into the square.

He stood and stretched, then he reached down,
for his rifle and his pack,
the valley stretched in front of him,
there was no turning back.

The grass was green,
the cloudless sky was clear, but no sun shone,
no living thing, no bird, no bee, he was the only one?
The direction of the winding path he could not guess or tell,
he did not know that journey’s end was the other side of Hell.


A figure walked towards him,
and now his spirits rose,
the man must be a Soldier,
he was wearing Soldiers clothes.
A tunic red a crossbelt white,
a Musket held at ease,
he met up with our traveller,
beside a grove of trees.

‘Hello’ said our man with a smile,
‘I think I’ve lost my way,
I must get back to Belfast Town,
before the close of day’.
‘that’s a problem’, said the man,
‘I’m not sure what you’ll do,
this area is for all the lads,
that fell at Waterloo’.


He pointed far across the Vale,
towards a distant mound,
‘I’ve heard tell that others occupy that forward ground.
Just follow on until you hear,
the tolling of a bell,
and you will surely find the route,
to the other side of Hell’.


With a smile and a wave,
our Soldier left his new and helpful friend,
and presently the track swung left,
around a sunken bend.
A group of men stood in a trench,
the grass had turned to mud,
they were dirty and dishevelled,
and ones head was caked in blood.
‘Stay down that man!’
Their leader cried, ‘To stand invites a bomb!
you don’t go strolling round like that
when fighting on the Somme’.
‘I’m sorry Sir’, our Soldier said,
‘but I think that I am lost,
I must rejoin my Unit soon,
I can’t regard the cost’.


The Captain frowned then crawled across
to where the Soldier lay.
He pulled a map case from his side
and pointed out the way.
‘I’m sorry if I startled you
I didn’t mean to yell,
but please keep low or you won’t reach
the other side of Hell’.

Our young man crawled until he felt,
that it was safe to stand,
then marvelled how the land had changed,
the mud becoming sand.
A burnt out tank now greeted him,
two Soldiers at it’s base,
a can of tea was boiling up
a smile upon each face.

‘Na then me lad doest thou want a brew?’
the grinning Corporal said.
‘It’s strong and thick and would even put,
a smile upon the dead’.

The Soldier joined those Desert Rats,
in that barren, timeless place
and drank with them the tea
that put a smile upon his face.

He thanked them both and then asked again
the directions to his goal,
the smiling Corporal’s message added laughter to his soul.
‘Just cross those dunes and you’ll soon get,
that old familiar smell
that lets you know that you have reached the other side of Hell’.

The black and threatening streets
with burning cars now filled his view,
and soon our hero saw some Soldier’s that he knew.
Near seven hundred men
assembled in that place
and others too would soon set out
that lonely path to trace.

He took his place along with mates
that he would always see,
fighting there on ghostly streets,
for all eternity.

All Soldiers who, for centuries died,
with weapons in their hand,
will always have a place reserved
here in Valhalla’s land.

And whilst their earth bound friends forget,
the sacrifice they made,
and whilst Cenotaphs are vandalised and children memories fade,
the fight goes on with Soldiers new,
so we will always tell,
the stories of the men who’ve seen……the other side of Hell.

Dedicated to all the fallen and to the veterans of the Northern Ireland Conflict 1969 - 2007

Thank God we've now got something to keep us going until it's time for That Christmas Poem...
 

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