A WW1 Wounded Soldier by Ann Slater


Standing in the mud soaked trench, waiting for the order to go,
I can smell the damp and rot, and fear of men who know that
This might be their last day
Some do curse and some do swear,
And some in silence pray.

With the sounding of the bell, we stumble out, out
Into the jaws of hell.

Then a gun shot sound, I spin backward to the ground
Dropping in searing pain, with staring eyes,
I look up to the skies,
And hope that death is not my fate
Until the stretcher bearers came and said,
“Your safe with us now mate”

Then a blur of hospitals and a ticket back to Blighty,
And the awful screams,
And the nightmare dreams,
That comes to visit nightly.

With my body physically healed, I have no need for peace and rest,
A quiet place, a haven, where I could convalesce,
To unlock my mind and spirit and let them both run free,
Where the broken man is mended and I am once more me.

And here at Temple Newsam as I walked in through the door
Of this tranquil house, in beautiful grounds
I knew I’d be restored.

Where the only sounds were bird song
And the air was fresh and sweet,
Good food, good care and companionship,
Soon had me on my feet.

Then I sit in quiet contemplation of men still fighting in the war,
In pain and death and suffering to gain
Two hundred yards or more,

And my heart feels sad and angry as I cry,
“What for, What for?”

Ann Slater (Osmondthorpe Creative Writing Group)