Remembrance Day Poem: Shot At Dawn

Remembrance Day Poem: Shot At Dawn

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They marched him out on a frosty Flanders morn,
beneath a godless grey despairing sky,
His hobnails clattering the cobbles, a final statement
to the world, with a whisper why,
Seventeen Southdown summers was what he’d seen
and now he would not see another,
As he walked to the edge of eternity in the tumult of
his mind he implored at one, God and his mother,
Found half blind, confused, lost and wandering, away from
the chlorine cloud of a cruel gas bomb.
Hastily tried convicted and condemned, then tethered to
a post to await his end, in the apt named hamlet of Ouderdom,
His darting eyes searched for grace in the firing squad
face by face, before the blindfold barred the light,
His executioners the iron regiment of Sussex brothers
with whom he’d oft made a charge, to breach the German might,
There he stood before the veil, a fair haired English
boy and hind, the very essence of our isle,
His conclusion set by the pen, of a mud free booted
Whitehall mandarin, and the mockery of a trial,
A twelve shot volley brought down the curtain, staining
with blood the white handkerchief pinned onto his chest,
His last breath rose like a ghost or question mark, upon
The cold dawn air, as with a gentle reflex, his body came to rest,
No drum roll, no fanfare, no bugle call, no Last Post,
No words or prayer, only silent ignominy,
Till a frenzied Flemish cockerel, up and crowed a eulogy
s they lowered him into a lonely grave, on the
Side of shell scarred spinney

By John Armstrong

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