Whilst not a soldier-poet of the First World War, Nigel Brodrick-Barker reminds us that the sacrifices made so long ago are not forgotten.
His collection ‘A Chapter of Accents’ can be found, amongst other places, in Fovant Surgery waiting room, and Mr Brodrick-Barker has kindly given us permission for this poem, from that collection, to appear on this website and in the Community Magazine ‘Three Towers’:
Nigel’s friend, David Selwood, illustrated the poem with the painting that appears below. It was first displayed at the FHIG exhibition held in 2008.
There is a green hill down our way
Whose shoulders heave with pride
For lives of young men, fit and strong
And loved ones waiting, oh so long.
Its sward now sings the saddest song
Of days when valour died.
Upon this green hill, hewn in chalk
Lie Courage, Grit and Grime
With memories of squalid trenches,
Smell of gas: That dreadful stench –
Is prob’ly German – or the French,
Or was it just the time?
A sleeve of green with badges bold
Forms perfect crease against the sky.
A smarter tunic you’ll not find.
“The orders clear – it’s sealed and signed”
We’re made to think, we left behind
And wonder “Why, oh Why?”
Some miles away, beyond the line,
In no-man’s land, the three-o-three
Will fire its rounds of different bore;
That issue rifle is no more;
No salvo; but the traffic’s roar
Reminds us that we’re free.
There is a green hill down our way,
A signal sleeve on verdant ground.
It bears their badges – sewn by hand,
Modest, simple – nothing grand.
Their mem’ry lives in every land
Where battlefields are found.
Content last updated
14 October 2008