In a shoebox of random pictures
Among the tools and unmatched crockery
Cheek by jowl with snaps of commodores
And smiling maids outside the buttery
Yours was attached to a cardboard frame
Signed the Novelty Studio, Plymouth.
Not back nor front does it give your name
Apparent only is your extreme youth
Illegible, your shoulder title
Cannot tell what front, you went to serve on
Over the top to test your mettle
Or standing to, chill, in the early dawn
Were you cold, wet, in France or Belgium
Were you hot and dry in Gallipoli?
While re-invading Byzantium
Huddled on the beach or dead in the sea
Did you return to nightmares, sadness?
Though with your family, always alone
Know your thoughts are verging on madness
Never too sure if you’re really at home
Are you still there ‘Known Only To God’
He must have been looking the other way
Had you a date with a firing squad
Were you only an order of the day?
Whatever happened those years ago
Inconsequent now so much time has passed
Left over from wars turbulent flow
The disabled the blinded and the gassed
The War to end all Wars, your mission
You won yet failed, helping set up the stage
Lighting a corporals ambition
Lions led by donkeys, their fault, your rage
And now that I’ve found this photograph
And all of the above, Meandered through
Are you lauded at the cenotaph?
Or sat at home watching on pay to view