A short animation of three WW1 poems doesn’t want to “stick” to my page; if you’re interested, drop by the poetry foundation. Here’s the link: “three world war 1 poems commemorating the centenary of the armistice“
One hundred and 4 years and one day ago, my great-uncle Earle was reported missing during the second battle of Paschendaele. Almost 2 years to the day of his enlistment. His body was never recovered; he, like so many, was sucked down into the muddy hell of the battlefield.
For a mlmm tale weaver prompt (“over the top,” October 29, 2020), I imagined the correspondence of a solider to his lover/wife written just prior to “going over the top” and into the bloody hell of muddy Paschendale.
As I write this, my dearest, we await the order to go over the top. Sargent said we should use the time wisely to write to our mothers, wives and sweethearts. So, I take up the pen and think lovingly of you.
I do not know which is worse, at times, the inching forward through the Hun’s firestorm of bullets and grabbing, tearing barbed wire, or sitting here in our muddy home, always damp with nerves taut.
We seem to be forever waiting: for orders, for rations, for ammunition, for the deafening bombs, for choking gas, and oh, more precious of all to us: mail.
To read your thoughts, to faintly catch the smell of your lavender perfume upon the page. It is the lovely image of your face, your raven hair cascading loose, the curve of your breast, soft touch of your hand which keeps me warm on even the coldest of nights. My dearest, I miss you so.
When this damn fight is over, perhaps by Christmas, I shall return to you, with promises to never leave again. To forget the miasma of this place and time. To restart our lives together. Keep me in your heart, my dearest.
I must close this. The call has come to collect the mail. Orders have arrived: at sunrise, we are over the top.
Tears, wept silently and alone, now mingle with the mud and blood splattered upon his last words to her.
Sighing, I carefully place the letter back in our box of family remembories.
First in a series of posts leading up to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month . . .