MEMENTOES OF THE 1st WORLD WAR – Remembrance

Our Creative Writing Group has penned a series of meditations on “Remembrance”

MEMENTOES OF THE 1st WORLD WAR

Great Grandad, Great Grandad, you are so old,
Pray tell me of things, if I may be so bold,
Of things when the whole wide world was at war,
Please tell me, please tell me of all that you saw.

Little one, my little one, not just for your ears,
But also for those of many of your peers,
Many things, many things you all should know,
In memory of brave people – a lot that we owe.

Tho’ ration cards helped all families eat,
It was rare, it was rare to feel replete,
More so, more so, for men who might starve,
No Sunday joints or chickens to carve.

Our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen must roam,
To places and countries so far from home,
That to pen a few words in a censored letter,
Was all they could do to help Mum feel better.

Then where could Mum send her return letter,
To help make a homesick son feel better?
Not allowed to know where or when or why,
Only to know that perhaps he could die.

So mamas set to work to do something while sitting,
Socks, socks, and more socks – part of their knitting,
When rainbow tears fell on silks to discard,
For sending some stranger an embroidered postcard.

And so my little one, there were other sights,
Chiefly those old Zeppelins rising to great heights,
When caught in the searchlights and set on fire,
Smoke and red flames – the consequences dire.

Workers in factories meant to do their bit,
Although perhaps not permitted to actually sit,
Even packing up biscuits to put in a tin,
Was part of their effort this war to win.

Not only lesser mortals but also royalty,
Strived to display their heartfelt loyalty,
Queen Mary herself ordered a royal decree
For each serving man – a tin of goods free.
There were packs of cards made in Germany,
Colourfully illustrated figures of the enemy,
Other packs were used by our own brave men,
Farewell to boredom – to which say Amen.

Grandmama, Grandmama, you are old too,
Pray tell me of that great penny in the loo,
In the glass case hanging on that far wall,
When I spend a penny, I’m afraid it might fall.
Little one, my little one, your Great Grandad is wise,
Telling all those tales to one of your size,
But that great penny is to put into your head,
Everything we owe to the valiant dead.

E P Hope