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Poem: I Was a First World War Soldier.

Updated on June 23, 2014
Over the top at the whistle.
Over the top at the whistle. | Source

There at the charge.

I was a first world war soldier, they sent me to die in the mud.

I fought and I bled for my country and I know that I gave all I could.

Around me others were screaming for mothers for fathers for sons,

for daughters for sisters for brothers, no longer the sound of the drums.


I was a first world war soldier, I did what they said when told,

'You there fix your bayonet or you'll never live to grow old'

around me all the young faces the fear in their eyes said it all,

over the top at the whistle leaving the trench for the wall.


We charged through barbed wire at the building,

where others were waiting inside.

The fighting it started in earnest

and the boys from both sides well, they died.


As an old man I sit here and wonder and these days I walk with a cane,

I think of those young boys of those days and the tears well, they come back again.





The First World War.

© 2014 Graham Lee

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    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi David. Thanks for your welcome visit. Thank you for your welcome comments I do appreciate them. As they deserved a second visit from you it must have some merit. Thanks again.

      Graham.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Graham, I know I've already commented, but it looks like you've struck a nerve here. Lots of great comments-- well-justified. It captures many things, but especially the guilt felt by the survivors. Congratulations!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Glen. Thanks again for your welcome comments. Yes it must have been a living hell for all combatants.

      Graham.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Very good poem and a great tribute to the soldiers of that time, as well as the present. The feelings of despair come through and I could feel the pain of the memories with you.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Dianna. Thank you so much for your welcome visit and comments. I do hope all is well for your family members who are currently serving. I read that should a serviceman or woman enter a restaurant in the US, then other patrons stand and applaud to show their appreciation.

      Graham.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      When the young die such a horrific death it makes you wonder why we have wars. I have family members who served and are currently serving. I am grateful for those who served to help keep us free and I pray for those out there who are fighting for our rights. It's never a pleasant thought: war.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nellieanna. Thank you for your valued visit and well thought through comments, I appreciate your interest. War is indeed hell, no drum rolls or dramatic music, only death and horror. What would the fallen think of today's society I wonder.

      Graham.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

      Simply excellent in every sense, Graham. The poetry is outstanding and the message is clear and excruciatingly poignant. I'm a fan of British film, including the popular series 'Downton Abbey' and' Upstairs, Downstairs', both of which encompass the WWI years. DA shows scenes at the Somme quite dramatically and each of them shows the effects both in battle and at home and both among the 'uppers' and the 'downers' in the homes depicted. Some of the psychological trauma is well-dramatized.

      My Dad was a soldier in WWI but didn't have to go overseas. I've always been interested in how it was, and was old enough to be quite aware during WWII, when my brother and a couple of brothers-in-law were in the thick of it, as was my late husband, though I didn't know him till many years later.

      War is truly hell, as the off-hand saying goes, but it's more than off-hand, it is deeply so. Makes no sense to kill off and maim so many of the brightest, youngest members of both 'sides' involved. Often very little is actually accomplished of value.

      Your great poem truly tells it in succinct words which tell the story well.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Lesley. Thanks for your visit and comments. I am glad that you like it. Thank you for your valued votes.

      My best to you.

      Graham.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Graham, a very moving, emotional piece of writing....

      All the votes from me, best wishes Lesley

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      HI PEGGY! Thank you for your visit and lovely comments. I greatly appreciate you votes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Linda. Thank you for your visit and kind comments. If only man could live in peace, what a wonderful world it would be.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Mary. Thank you for your visit and welcome comments. Yes, the fear when facing battle is understandable.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Phyllis. Thank you for your visit and insightful comments. I wonder what they would think of today's society.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jo. Thank you for your visit. Thank you for your kind comments. No, there is no glamour in war.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi LadyFiddler. Thank you for your valued visit and comments. I agree there is no glamour in war.

      Graham.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      If only we could all just live in peace. Wishful thinking. Sad, yet beautiful poem. Your words will touch many.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      War is a terrible thing. Though this was written about WWI, it is appropriate for all the wars that our men had to fight in.

      They just did what they had to do!

      Voted UP, etc.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Old Albion, war leaves such painful memories for so many. Reading your poem is like being right there, watching the faces of the young soldiers and feeling their fears -- yet, they pushed on and did what they had to do. Thank you for fighting for freedom for all of us. God bless you, Sir.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Too many, too young too soon. I can almost feel the fear, see the men emerging from those awful trenches, knowing that only death awaits them. Your poem makes it all so vivid and that takes incredible talent. Will we ever put an end to war?

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      Oldalbion thank God you live to tell the stories. Oh how it must have sadden your heart when your remember those sadden faces falling like flies to the ground. How many mothers bawl for their sons how many wives were left undone, war is certainly no fun.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You have captured the fear of soldiers in battle and the sadness of those who do survive but have to live with their memories. Excellent poem. Beautifully written. It would be so wonderful to live without the constant threat of some kind of terrorism and/or war. Will we ever learn from the past? Up votes and sharing.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      I write this as a correction.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Kenneth. I agree wholeheartedly with you Kenneth.

      Best wishes.

      Graham.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Graham, LOL.

      WE are NOT OLD, just widely-experienced.

      Have a day of peace, my friend.

      Kenneth

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Kenneth. After my 70 years of life I totally agree with you.

      Best Wishes.

      Graham.

    • profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago

      Hey, old albion . . .no, thank YOU for your great work and your following, that means the world to me.

      I love to have followers who become friends on HP. And I have found out that in my 60 years of life, a person cannot have too many friends.

      Keep up the great work.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      nice piece of writing. I thank you.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hello Kenneth. Thank you so much for your visit and most welcome comments. I am so glad you felt this hub was worth you votes. It will be a pleasure to read your hubs and become a follower. I shall be over there today.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi CriSp. Thank you for your visit and delightful comments. I do value your votes thank you.

      Graham.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello old albion,

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing in every aspect of writing.

      I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb.

      Voted up and all the choices but Funny because there is nothing funny about war--anytime, any place.

      You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and good things are bound to happen to you.

      I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.

      That would make my day.

      I am so honored to meet you.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Salute to you old albion! This is very touching. You have my respect!

      Voted up and sharing.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Dim. Thanks for your second visit. You are always welcome. Thank you for your lovely comments.

      Graham.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

      Hi, it's me again. l had to come back for another read after looking at a picture of my beloved grandfather, . He survived that terrible war but came home minus one leg and one eye. Heartbreaking.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Frank. Thanks for your visit and welcome comments. I do appreciate them. Thanks for the vote!

      Graham.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      raw emotional, but chillingly written voted awesome my friend :)

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Judy. Thank you for your chills down my spine. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Graham

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Judy. Thank you for your most interesting comments. Please link the hub if you wish. Yes what was it all for. What might have been I ask.

      Graham.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Did I mention this is so real it sends chills down my spine?

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      WWI was the war that changed the world. The world was never the same afterward. Mind if I link this to my hub on remembering . It might be something about Remembering those who died. -

      Its something about Memorial Day. I mention my grandfather Spanish American War, Parents WWII, Brother Vietnam, While I had an great uncle killed in WWI, I know almost nothing about him except his name was Jim Smith. Your poem would complement the hub nicely.-Judy

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Nell. Thank you for your valued visit and comments. I don't think it will ever be forgotten Nell. A terrible waste of a generation. I always think what might have been, had these men had the chance to shine.

      Graham.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Graham, this was such a poignant poem, and brought to mind my gran who's husband (just) was in the first world war. he was gassed badly, and died a few years later, from what we believe was the effects of that gas. it never ended in 1918, it went on for years in the minds, hearts and bodies of those poor guys, wonderful!

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. Thank you for your visit and comments and votes and sharing and being my friend and......

      Best wishes.

      Graham.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A great poem Graham and voted up, across and shared for sure. I hope all is well with you my friend and lots of love from Wales.

      Eddy.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Dim. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. I do appreciate them.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Rasma. Thank you for your visit, you are right it will never be forgotten.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jodah. Thank you for your visit and comments. All the fine young men....now lost. Thank you for the votes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Dane. Thank you for your in depth comments they are always welcome. I do appreciate their sentiments.

      Graham.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 3 years ago from Great Britain

      Absolutely wonderful words. A truly beautiful, touching poem.

      I applaud you, sir.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Things like war will never be forgotten. Thanks for the journey back in time and the reminder.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      So much feeling portrayed without wasting words Graham. Your poem showed clearly the futility of war as brave soldiers obeyed commands without thought of life or death. Voted up.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Graham, your poem strikes a cord deep here. I recall my awakening to the worst of war as I finished a book on the battle of the Somme, where the flower of England's young men died in mud and blood. Their valor will, or rather should, never be forgotten. The fact that some 20,000 of these men died on the first day is seared in memory. You've written something memorable here yourself my friend.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi David. Thank you for your visit and comments. Yes futile is the word, when will we ever learn, never I'm afraid. Thanks again,

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Jamie. Thank you for your visit and comments. I greatly appreciate them.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Ruby. I totally agree with your comments. Thank you for your most welcome visit.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Good Morning Faith. I am so pleased that you found my hub so interesting.. Thank you for your welcome comments and valued votes.

      Best wishes.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Thank you for your valued comments, as you say there is no glory at the end.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Ann. Thank you for your visit and comments. Yes, futility is the right word.

      Graham.

    • old albion profile image
      Author

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Thank you Ravi. I appreciate your visit and welcome comment.

      Graham.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Full of pathos, Graham, and catching the futility of war just right, where war boils down to brass tacks: soldiers killing and being killed and trying to survive to return home, all thoughts of glory and patriotism replaced with longing for loved ones. Well done.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

      Great poem, well written. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Beautiful Graham. It's a no-win situation. Only the young die. Loved this!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Profound poem. Said a whole lot in little words. Excellent! Up and more and sharing. Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very nice Graham! War is hell....there is nothing glorious about it...and you captured it well in few words, which is not easy to do. Nice job my friend.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Poignant. So much said in a few words, getting across the futility of it all; that takes skill. It has an appropriate march rhythm too.

      Brilliant! Ann

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      Ashutosh Tiwari 3 years ago from Lucknow, India

      @oldalbion An emotional poem.

      Well done!