Soldiers Fade Away

We sent them off to war,

these bright young men

We had no knowledge of what they saw,

They were  bright young men  no more .

Yes they were brave and they were whole

Those that survived had all lost their soul.

Many died, they were the lucky ones , death to them was kind.

Those who returned were faded in body and mind.

Their loved ones at first relieved

Soon found they had much cause to grieve.

Though there in body broken, they were not home in their mind

Whether whole in body or not they had left their minds behind.

They went out whole, these bright young things

They went full of pride for God and Kings

They ran head long into hell

Yet on return they could not relinquish it’s spell.

So we had a nation of half men ghosts

Whimpering fearful their heads still have them at their posts.

The trenches and the blasts of bombs, the smell of death

Clung to them and bled them dry, the whole in body, the blind, the amputee it was as if the battle, they never left

We sent them off to war,

These bright young men

We had no knowledge of what they saw,

They were bright young men no more.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David M. Greend
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 08:47:57

    During WW I in England the women advocating for the vote for upper and middle class women only intentionally handed out a white feather – the symbol of cowardice – to every male they came across who was not wearing a military uniform. Seems to me that when their men came home broken in both mind and body these women got exactly what they deserved.

    You can read more about it in “The Woman Racket” written by Steve Moxon.


    • willowdot21
      Jun 05, 2013 @ 09:50:36

      Yes it is true that women handed out white feathers but the men did too. Also you could be sent to prison if you were a conscientious objector or be sent as a stretcher bearer with no protection on the battlefield. Some young men came home on leave and were too mentally ill to return to their units. They were arrested sumerally tried and then shot at dawn.
      Whole units of soldiers had to go over the top of the trenches, the generals using them as cannon fodder. If they refused the order was given to fire on their position.
      So the men were just as bad, if not worse. All this is fully documented.
      Btw do you know the full story of how badly men treated the suffragettes in prison. My poem was not written so you can score points on how badly women treat men. There are good and bad on both sides. Humans are not kind.


    • WordsFallFromMyEyes
      Jun 05, 2013 @ 21:00:51

      Interesting comment, David. I didn’t know any of that.


      • willowdot21
        Jun 05, 2013 @ 21:02:38

        David’s comment is true up to a point but as I said in my reply there is a lot more to it than he implies! Hugs to you and Daniel.xxxx

  2. penpusherpen
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 10:44:03

    WW1 was a time when those who could enlist did, Sweet Willow, and those who were too young lied about their ages to be able to fight for glory… ’twas said it would be over in two weeks. and whole villages, groups of friends etc.. signed up and were lost, either dead or returned as you described so well, lost in their broken minds and bodies… War is a terrible thing… but we never learn. hugs aplenty my friend. xPenx


  3. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    Jun 05, 2013 @ 21:01:22

    Emotive again, Willow. Excellent expression.


  4. Unsungpoet
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 01:36:23

    What a beautiful & heart wrenching poem on the horrors of war and loss of innocence…truly touching, willowdot…


  5. Jenni
    Apr 25, 2014 @ 12:41:30

    Heartrending but brilliant.


    • willowdot21
      Apr 25, 2014 @ 12:44:45

      Thank you Jen is was such an awful thing to happen, the painting you speak of and the wonderful poem you used are so evocative. So much amazing, terrifying poems and painting came from those too wars. What has mankind learned??? Nothing. xxx


      • Jenni
        Apr 25, 2014 @ 12:46:41

        Maybe more than we think – more than those in power think or want to believe. The net and social media has changed things in ways that I think will have some very interesting developments re social justice issues. Going to be an interesting next decade or so in my opinion.

      • willowdot21
        Apr 25, 2014 @ 13:12:15

        Yes lets hope so though I still think money talks loudest and there is a lot of money in Munitions and Armary ! But lets hope for a ray of light to ignigte from a new generation ? fingers crossed. xx

      • Jenni
        Apr 25, 2014 @ 13:12:46

        Toes as well. 🙂

      • willowdot21
        Apr 25, 2014 @ 13:14:48


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