Longford poet submits poem commemorating those who fought in the Great War

Larry Mitchell's 'To End All Wars'

Larry Mitchell

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Larry Mitchell

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newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Longford to mark centenary of Armistice Day

A photo from the 1950s of Veterans of Two World Wars. Included from left, John Barry, Noel Strange with bugle, -, Jack McCormack, - , Paddy Lenihan, Charlie Sheehan, Billy Muldoon, -, Alec Dowd - - -

Hard to visualise such an appalling event
Where Kings and Emperors were content
To put the lives of their subjects on the line
in preserving colonial interests from decline.

The Arch-Duke's assassination was used in full
To mobilise alliances with ambitions to cull
Third World expansions which were coming to light
From emerging powers willing to fight.

The cream of Europe's youth engages in battle
Herded to the front like sheep and cattle
Little did naive adventurers know
The consequences of facing a formidable foe.

Somme's screaming shells shatter a soldier's senses
Crawling through mud to the enemy's defences
The order to advance from the commander's whistle
Rose represented sons alongside shamrock, leek and thistle.

The War to end Wars still bitterly rages
The war cry of Kitcherer still filling the pages
Your Country Needs you call with its hollow forecast
To be home for Christmas this war will never last.

Success and advances were painfully fraught
With terrible slaughter as each battle was fought
Verdun, Passchendaele and Messines steep hill
Gallipoli's cliff heights and it's murderous kill.

The sceams of the wounded with limb's dismembered
Lulled memories of the dying fadingly remembered
The relief of the blighty with wounds to mend
Hopeful prayers of survivors for the war to end.

Did leaders and power broker's suffer the pain
Like the rank and file who fought in vain?
For a questionable cause and self-serving view
Conveniently backed by the privileged few.

What happened to the heroes on returning home?
Their chivalry ignored by their very own
Picking up their lives and a minimal pension
Their cause misunderstood with suspicious tension.

What was the outcome of five dreadful years?
A lost generation and loved one's tears
Revolution was spawned and cultures did part
preparing the way for a new holocaust to start.

The lesson to be learned from that terrible time
War is never the answer with which to prime
The hawkish intent of a belligerent cult
With suffering and hardship the end result.

L Mitchell