A centenary war poem

A CENTENARY WAR POEM
For my father Bill Baine, 1899-1968
1/15th Battalion, London Regiment , soldier number 535068

 

‘What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.’
And so some lines to spike centenary prattle:
These words a sole survivor soldier’s son’s.

 

My father Bill, born in Victorian England:
The sixth of January, 1899.
His stock, loyal London. Proletarian doff-cap.
Aged seventeen, he went to join the line

 

Not in a war to end all wars forever
Just in a ghastly slaughter at the Somme –
A pointless feud, a royal family squabble
Fought by their proxy poor with gun and bomb.

 

My father saved. Pyrexia, unknown origin.
Front line battalion: he lay sick in bed.
His comrades formed their line, then came the whistle
And then the news that every one was dead

 

In later life a polished comic poet
No words to us expressed that awful fear
Although we knew such things were not forgotten.
He dreamed Sassoon: he wrote Belloc and Lear.

 

When I was ten he died, but I remember,
Although just once, he’d hinted at the truth.
He put down Henry King and Jabberwocky
And read me Owen’s ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’.

 

‘What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.’
And so some lines to spike Gove’s mindless prattle:
These words a sole survivor soldier’s son’s.
Soldier in Euston Road, London. 3-10-2014. Picture by Tony Martin-Woods

Soldier in Euston Road, London. 3-10-2014. Picture by Tony Martin-Woods

ATS/JB 22nd January 2014
Copyright © 2014. Attila the Stockbroker
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

Bob Crow

BOB CROW

 

There was a man who held his ground.
Fought every inch, and won the day.
His legacy, his members’ lot:
Good work conditions, decent pay.
By Tories and their tabloid dupes
And those who seek more than their share
Just like Millwall, his favourite team,
He wasn’t liked, and didn’t care.

 

But those who worked in transport knew
Their leader stood right by their side.
No management could lay them low:
They wore their union badge with pride.
He spoke for passengers as well:
Safety, not profit, always first.
Opposing fatal funding cuts –
Paddington, Potters Bar the worst.

 

Bob Crow. A boxer’s grandson, he:
Led with the left and packed a punch.
The bosses knew he’d take them on:
No smarmy smile, no cosy lunch.
We need more like him, that’s for sure:
Upfront and honest to the last.
He bargained hard and kept his word.
A union leader unsurpassed.

 

As zero hours contracts grow
And bosses offer Hobson’s choice
Let us not mourn, but organize:
Get off our knees and find our voice!
This man worked hard for workers’ rights:
A fair wage, a safe, steady job.
So join a union and stand firm.
That’s the best way to honour Bob.

 

Copyright © 2014. Attila the Stockbroker
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.