Tag Archive | Remembrance

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

On Remembrance Day I write a poem which is based on the concerns of a 94 year old veteran who served in the Second World War. This former soldier believes that we are now standing at the brink of a third world war and potential global catastrophe due to what he calls the greed and self interest of a group of sociopathetic leaders who have no compassion or empathy for those they lead or for the greater human race as they seek only power no matter the cost to the rest of us. I hope I have done justice to the words of Harry Leslie Smith in this poem which I’ve titled As Lands Lie Bleeding. I hope you enjoy the read. 

As Lands Lie Bleeding 

I can’t stand by and watch the world explode

these are not my words 

but those of a former soldier

in the winter of his years

who genuinely fears for our human race 

this is a man who has faced unspeakable horrors

the likes of which we hoped we would never see again 

like hearing whilst stationed in Germany 

that atomatic bombs had been dropped on japanese cities

and turned the souls of inhabitants 

in to what he describes as chalk marked stenciled drawings on pavements 

in the fragile peace of a cold war world

we had believed those days were behind us 

yet now we stand at a crossroads

not seen since the 1930’s and rise of Nazi Germany

as once more the conservative right 

squares  up for a fight without realising the consequences 

these people have a glorified sense of self 

but no sense of other nor compassion for their plight 

without a moral compass they play games with our lives 

in contrast to those who rebuilt a shattered continent 

at the end of the last global conflict 

who in this country brought us

The NHS and welfare state 

but now the politics of fear and hate are on the rise again 

as the disadvantaged look for scapegoats

to blame for their decline 

shortage of housing and rising crime statistics

blame it on the forigners not the British 

say those who preach exclusion 

as if by doing so we magically solve all problems 

I support an independent Scotland 

but I recognise that independence alone would not solve our problems overnight 

however in the dreamworld of the British Conservative right

they are prepared to make no such admissions about their United Kingdom

and by perpuating their delusions 

they are sacrificing the ambitions of their children 

to live in a better world than this 

an old soldier is warning us 

with autocratic governments in positions of power 

the world stands at the darkest hour 

since the days of Hitler and the reich 

life he says cannot go on like this 

something has to give.

we are standing on the brink of war 

he urges us to take a step back 

not for the Saltaire, stars and stripes, or union flag 

but for humanity 

he worries about the sanity of sociopathetic leaders 

with no respect  for others 

as they lust for power at all costs

and watch lands lie bleeding 

as they play war games by remote control 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 


Tea And Doughnuts

Hey everyone This afternoon I attended a memorial service at my local parish church to remember those all often forgotten when it comes to the casualties of war and that is those who were taken hostage and held as prisoners of war.

The service conducted by our ministerial team of the Reverend Malcolm Cuthbertson and the Reverend Alex Stuart was organised by a couple of local women one of whom is known to me on a personal level who were angry that the contribution of prisoners of war had been overlooked in the recent VE Day commemorations
Though born in the 1960’s as President Kennedy enjoyed his first summer in the Whitehouse when the world would allegedly undergo a social and attitudinal revolution. (These things always take longer in Scotland) I was brought up fully aware of the impact of the second world war and the part my own relatives had played in it. Seven of my twelve uncles either by bloodline or by marriage had taken part in active service, of the ones who had not only one was in a reserved occupation the rest were too young.

Thankfully, my dad, an 18 year old at the time the war ended was on his way to Japan with his comrades when they were told to turn back. Whether any of my uncles were ever prisoners of war I can safely say five out of the seven definitely weren’t but I can’t so sure of the other two though I don’t think they were as I’m sure I would have heard about it if they had been.

There is however one thing I am sure of and that is that every single one of them knew someone who had been. It is those men and women I and others gathered to remember and it was good to see members of the Italian and Jewish communities amongst the congregation and Baillie Martin Barat who gave a very moving and dignified speech on the horrors of war. It is honour of these men and women I have written this poem. I have given it the title Tea And Doughnuts I hope you find it an enjoyable and challenging read.

Tea And Doughnuts

This afternoon we gathered in a wee kirk on the corner to honour the memory of those forgotten by history ignored by the press
those for whom there was no heroes welcome.
no dancing in streets or celebration from a grateful nation just tea and doughnuts and years of silent hell
the service personnel who never fell in battle or returned after VE Day prisoners of war they were swept under carpets their problems wished away by a nation too busy rebuilding and rebranding
to show empathy or understanding to the walking wounded who were told to get on with their lives
they came home quietly beaten not by the enemy
but the indifference of those they served.
In this moment we remembered
giving them the dignity they deserved but never received
all they got was tea and doughnuts

@ Gayle Smith 2015