‘Poppies’

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The mother hugged her only son
As he set off to war
At eighteen he had no idea
Just what the war was for
He’d only played with toy guns
Now he had to shoot to kill
To murder men he didn’t know
To whom he felt no ill
His mother wiped away her tears
He turned to wave goodbye
He didn’t want to leave her
Didn’t want to see her cry
But off he knew he had to go
To leave his world behind
Knowing there’d be dangers
Of the most hair raising kind
The trenches were a filthy place
No comforts to enjoy
No place for any soldier
Let alone a precious boy
The orders were to face the foe
To run towards their fire
To shoot as many enemies
To see their lives expire
A challenge for a kind young man
Who wouldn’t hurt a fly
But he knew he had to run and shoot
He knew that he would die
And lying there with little breath
Or life within his heart
He thought about his mother
And the day he did depart
The picture of her lovely face
Awash with bitter tears
Was all that he could think of
As he faced his final fears
But suddenly stood by him
Was his father with a smile
He said he’d come to meet him
And to comfort him a while
His father held his hand out
And his son took it with pride
His father was a soldier too
So together side by side
They walked a field of poppies
To a sunset on a shore
Still wondering why they had to die
And what the war was for

By David Whitney
Torrevieja © 2022

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