Go Tell the Spartans, Stranger passing by…

The result of a visit to Verdun and the Ossuary with the bones of 140,000 men.   The title is from an inscription in stone at Thermopylae.

 ‘Go Tell the Spartans, Stranger passing by.

  That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.’


I lower my voice .
to meet my eyes.
Amid the ruins
of Fleury. And cry?
I don’t know how
or why. 0h God
allow my tears
to wash one
hundred years
of soil from all
these formless bones.
Young men should
sow wild oats.
Not seed the ground
in bone-meal, blood
and parts.
‘Mort pour La France’
penned like paper hearts
to every cold stone.
Each one a mother’s son
0chone, 0chone…
dropped casual; dead
before Douamont.

 

 

 

 

 

© franciman 2017
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critique and comments welcome.

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2 Comments on "Go Tell the Spartans, Stranger passing by…"

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Sweetwater
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Wonderfully expressive poetry, every word perfectly placed. Sue.

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