In A Far Distant Land by Bill Storie

somme

The Battle of the Somme – World War 1 – July 1, 1916

 On this day, exactly 100 years ago, the Battle of the Somme became one of the defining events of the First World War. July 1 1916, was, and still is, the deadliest day in the history of the British Army. Almost 20,000 British Empire soldiers lost their lives in just 24 hours.

 The impact of the Battle affected millions of families in Europe, on all sides, and the effects were felt for decades.

 I have written this Poem as a commemoration of the Battle of the Somme and the men and boys who lost their lives.

In A Far Distant Land
A commemoration of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Village life
In a far distant land
No, not far at all,
Just the smell of the seaweed and the feel of the sand.

Small boys, young men,
In a far distant land
They played, they sang, they ran,
Portrush – at the top – of Ireland.

Not known to them
In a far distant land
A Duke visited,
In fact, the Archduke Ferdinand

The flags, the bunting
In a far distant land,
Sarajevo, I hear,
Assassination, by the Black Hand.

In a matter of days
In a far distant land
The drums of war
On which side do you stand?

Decisions were made
In a far distant land
Reverberations
In land after land

Send us your young
To a far distant land
Bring all your guns
But fight hand to hand

The valleys and the glens
To a far distant land
Emptied
To follow Ulster’s Red Hand

A man they called Carson
In a far distant land
Said, “We’re coming”
To a far distant land

Hundreds and thousands
In a far distant land
Verdun, Ypres, Thiepval
Together would stand

Blood
In a far distant land
Is the same colour
As in their own homeland

Mud
In a far distant land
Dark and heavy
Life in this horrible wetland

Wire
In a far distant land
Rarely before seen
Ripped aside … by hand

Gas
In a far distant land
Dear Lord, No
Men and flowers just cannot withstand

Who runs this war ?
In a far distant land
Have they ever seen the Front ?
They just don’t understand

Decisions were made
In a far distant land
“Lives can be wasted”
“I won’t see it firsthand”

Day after day
In a far distant land
Lucifer lighting
A shot came, third hand

On the first of July
In a far distant land
The Somme, the terror, the carnage
I just don’t understand

Over the top
In a far distant land
Into the hell fire
Five paces (if) would be grand

No time for fear
In a far distant land
Either a bullet from there
Or from behind you by hand

Death
In a far distant land
Weeks to prepare
Seconds to withstand

Take me home
From this far distant land
Don’t bury me here
In this far distant land

At eleven on eleven of eleven
In a far distant land
Silence
A simple stroke of the hand.

Home to my ain folk
From this far distant land
Back to the village
There’s no need for a band

Young lives
In a far distant land
Slaughtered
For what.? – I demand

Village life … again
Just the smell of the seaweed and the feel of the sand
Never again
To a far distant land

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©William Storie, Bermuda 2016
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2 responses to “In A Far Distant Land by Bill Storie

  1. Pingback: Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle | Marcus Ampe's Space·

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