A poem for Remembrance Day

No Birds Sang

Through the smoke the wire coiled,
snagged with the remnants of humanity.
Fighting paused for a single moment.
In the forests, no birds sang.


A creeping menace, sulphurous, deadly,
seared the lungs and ignited fear.
Shouted warnings through the trenches.
In creeping silence, no birds sang.


Men waiting, huddled together,
for their turn to head over the top.
Bonds formed and friendships destroyed.
Before the signal, no birds sang.


The trenches slick with mud and blood.
Dark humour from those who survived.
Glory is not a prize worth having.
In hell on earth, no birds sang.


The cold grind of metal machines,
a huge, deadly crushing force;
the ground torn in staccato bursts.
Amidst the chaos, no birds sang.


Heat and dust, hidden faces
Who to trust, no-one knows
A IED shatters the silence.
 In the cold of night, no birds sang.

In quiet graveyards we remember.
Ghosts crowding around the tombs.
Poppies show past sacrifices.
For one brief moment, birds will sing.

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