Passchendalae

By Samuel Rye

Artwork “Great Falls Circular” by Mary Callaway


Those Passchendaele days I shan’t forget –
either trench-bound, or earthward and blood-spent.
Strewn across me was man’s proud family tree
and on the high-ground, my land’s enemy.
Wrought bullets found the clay and brought the brume
down upon us on all sides. What grimness
was beheld by young so fair and treasured?
Well I for one survived – I cannot speak
for those who met the rifle’s stride, or died
drowning in the quagmire’s unkindly grave.
The heavens tried to cleanse our senselessness
but we paid no heed; instead sent our tanks
over the bones of fallen steeds and men
to no avail. Weather meant stalemate.
Jimmy Morgan swapped gat for mouth organ.
The body louse that shared our jests and grief
the cause of our ill . . . but we were to blame,
were we not? for the deaths of beloved
without engravings back home evermore lost.
But we fought for us all at their behest,
and with our kin in mind stormed the frontline
led by Butcher Haig, braced by Canada.
After torturous months we took their hold;
then abruptly we were left to our thoughts,
and the hapless – left to fertilise the earth.
Those Passchendaele days I shan’t forget –
either trench-bound, or earthward and blood-spent.
Strewn across me was man’s proud family tree
and now atop the high-ground, us, in victory.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *