D-Day 75

I recently accompanied a 94-year-old veteran on the cruise ship Boudicca to the beaches of Normandy for the service of remembrance to mark this momentous historic occasion. It was a very enlightening and humbling experience.


I stood with the old men on the beach of sharp memories

Their past out of reach to me; history only they can see.

Looking back to the great attack

Landing craft abeam and abaft spilling fearful, determined men

Into blood churned waters of destruction

The waves, the undertow’s suction

Dragging comrades to their doom, men who only hours ago talked of home

Smoking, nervously joking

Thinking of loved ones left behind, their children crying as they are dying

Bullet pierced, shrapnel-torn some sinking down to drown

The helpless watched the hapless die, no time to cry,

Machine guns clatter, bodies shatter, men scatter. No deflection, same direction

On., on up the death-scoured, hate-showered beach

To reach the dreaded pillbox, to end forever its malevolence

I watched my friend, saw his teardrops fall upon that sand,

Seventy-five years of pain, dead comrades briefly live again

Peoples of this land thank him and others, forever brothers

Joined by their suffering shared, grateful of their life spared

Visiting graveyards, endless rows, some whom God alone knows

“Know unto God” the tombstone read, Was it our Jonny, Bill or Fred?

Yet sorrowful eyes do not despise their former enemy, for that place, too,

Was their Gethsemane

Ninety-four years old he stands, erect, a sad but proud man He played his part

In this cruel war, hell’s creation, that tore at the nation’s heart

We turn as parades pass, The great and the good of our land

Pretend to understand, yet those who were there cannot

Bugles call, flags are raised, the old men praised

It will happen again, we just know not when

Will we ever hear of war’s Amen?

© pronto 2019
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critique and comments welcome.

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Alfie_ShoygerJay12ProntoIonicusGuajiros Recent comment authors
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Alfie_Shoyger
Member

I really liked the line “On, on, up the death-scoured, hate-showered beach”… My feelings towards war have become ambivalent lately. On the one hand, the two world wars were completely unnecessary (the second one only happened because of the first one), they were atrocities committed against the people of Europe (particularly its young men) by the powers that be. And yet, when I look at my own generation and even more so the generation after mine, I see a bunch of spoilt bastards who only care about what they want, who disdain the elderly and the working class, who think… Read more »

Jay12
Member

“sometimes I think that the best thing for the British would be another war”

Really, you really believe that after reading this poem?

Alfie_Shoyger
Member

Sometimes, yes. A civil war. This is the direction we’re heading in anyway. We have a divided population. Two groups of people who hate each other’s guts. Maybe the best thing would be for the sick society to just vomit, to just bring it all up, get it out of its system, then move on.

Roundheads and Cavaliers, cut off a few politicians’ heads, then back to normal like nothing ever happened.

Jay12
Member

There are things we are trying at this very moment to change things without a civil war. I don’t think anyone would disagree that when Merkel let 1m Syrians into the EU she made a huge mistake. But that wasn’t our mistake, it was Germany’s.

Alfie_Shoyger
Member

No, you are wrong, there are plenty of people in our country who disagree that Merkel made a mistake. These are the kinds of people who think that the world’s borders should come down, and that we need more Muslims in the UK (because 23,000 Islamists walking freely on British streets isn’t enough). You can see these people in their thousands at every anti-Brexit or anti-Trump rally, holding up their cunty little signs saying “blah blah racism blah blah Islamophobia blah blah diversity is our strength, freedom is slavery, unthink ungood thoughtcrime”. RACIST (noun): Person who doesn’t want their children… Read more »

Ifyouplease
Member

just to say, men and boys, since you are in Poland read Witold Gombrowicz

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdydurke

this one, men and boys you said, Pornografia is also relevant. what are men what are boys, the two generations the age gap the cultural gap manipulating the youth

deep books, the deepest

a true patriot has no problem with his fellow men, but politicians. is it not interesting that all each side proclaims is anything as far away as possible from Direct Democracy? because think tanks and politicians don’t want their sheep to see the light.

Jay12
Member

“The helpless watched the hapless die, no time to cry,”

This is a very evocative poem. I think the generation that fought WW2 had hoped that war in Europe was long over. In recent years the threat of it seems to be returning as hard line nationalists turn against co-operation and move towards the kind of nationalism that lead to WW2.

A nice read fella!

Alfie_Shoyger
Member

Yep. World War Three will happen because of nationalists, not because of insane globalists like Angela Merkel filling Europe with terrorists, rapists and suchlike dirty scum who shouldn’t be in Europe.

Guajiros
Member

excellent poem, really paints the horrors this generation had to endure in order to save our freedom. Ordinary blokes who thought they were living the good live and they were forced to defend their way of life. Don’t make the mistake the so called smug population today will do the same thing if the situation arose. All we can hope for is that the politicians who are really the wankers not Guardian readers don’t put us in this situation again.

Guajiros
Member

sorry I meant the so called smug population “won’t” do the same (why can’t we edit our replies?)
Huh now I can edit! what gives?

Ionicus
Member

You should see the word ‘edit’ next to your ‘reply ‘box’

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