Remembrance Day

Learning about World War 1 poetry for GCSE had a huge influence on me, and is a great big reason why I’m a writer now. This one’s just about my favourite:

The Chances
Wildfred Owen

I mind as ‘ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking, — we was in the know,”
Over the top to-morrer; boys, we’re for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that’s tore it.”
“Ah well,” says Jimmy, — an’ ‘e’s seen some scrappin’ —
“There ain’t more nor five things as can ‘appen;
Ye get knocked out; else wounded — bad or cushy;
Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy.”

One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops.
T’other was hurt, like, losin’ both ‘is props.
An’ one, to use the word of ‘ypocrites,
‘Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn’t scratched, praise God Almighty
(Though next time please I’ll thank ‘im for a blighty),
But poor young Jim, ‘e’s livin’ an’ ‘e’s not;’
E reckoned ‘e’d five chances, an’ ‘e’s ‘ad;’
E’s wounded, killed, and pris’ner, all the lot —
The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim’s mad.

(You can go here for more poems like this.)

So when I said I’d contribute to a small collection my writing group put together for the local Poppy Appeal it felt considerably daunting.

I did my best.

HOW MANY WOMEN?
Nik Perring

How many women;
mothers,
sisters,
wives,
daughters,
have waved goodbye to
Daddy,
or lover,
or husband,
or son –
waved to a man
who was off to the front
who said,
‘Don’t worry,’
that, ‘I’ll be fine,’
and, ‘Home before you know it,’
only to realise,
too late,
that that wave,
that kiss,
that hug,
would be their last?

Feels a bit wrong putting my work next to his. Well, at least it’s under it; it knows its place.

0 Comments on “Remembrance Day

  1.  by  Tania Hershman

    Nik, thank you for such a moving post, I studied Wilfred Owen at school too but don’t remember that poem. And I think it is absolutely appropriate to put yours next to his, I really like your poem, very brief and evocative. If only we had gotten rid of this business of war in the years since Wilfred Owen wrote, I doubt he would be pleased with the world as it stands today, sadly.

  2.  by  Sarah Hilary

    Thanks, Nik, I’m another fan of Wilfred Owen. And your poem was touching, very fitting for today. Thank you for this post.

  3.  by  Nik's Blog

    Thanks Tania and Sarah. Great poet, Owen. “If only we had gotten rid of this business of war in the years since Wilfred Owen wrote, I doubt he would be pleased with the world as it stands today, sadly”How right.Glad you liked mine too.Nik

  4.  by  Nik's Blog

    I’ll take that as a good thing (though I never want to actually upset anyone!).Hope the tooth’s all better.Nik X

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