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The survivors of the trenches in WW1 were asked how did they handle the fact that so many of their 'pals' were falling down, dead or wounded; their reply was that they were told to put out their hand touch them say goodbye; medics will be sent. On hearing this I wrote the following poem :-

Sestina of Farewell; Gone  by John Clays

Just put your hand out, touch them, say goodbye
Such was their plight, they could not cry
When the whistle blew, over the top they went
They did not ask it was there they be sent
No, volunteered to fight a just cause
An adventure yes, but not sent like lambs to die

Sooner or later it will be your turn to die
Prepare yourself, get ready, say goodbye
Having done your bit of valour, die for the cause
In daylight, or darkness call out in pain, moan, cry
Was it decreed it was the hour to be sent
On your way, next stage, come on time you went

Fate had come, they all just went
Something for which you could die
It seems that bit was meant, heaven sent
Go on, get on with it, say night-night, bye
No point not doing it, why should you cry
They were told it was a just cause

But many were lost to the cause
Others took time, days before they went
Their future was to lie wounded, dying, cry
Left where they fall, not recover, die
For some it was longer before they said their goodbye
Leave the wounded, carry on, medics will be sent

Despite home views, "stuff" continued to be sent
From this distance you may still say it was a just cause
Away from their loved ones having bid a long goodbye
Not excuse incompetence that required so many went
For all killed on the battlefields who had to die
It was those left behind, the ones who would also cry

Good man, you did not call out, moan, groan, cry
They knew it was right overseas you would be sent
Come on man, be brave, it is your time to die
Britain was proud you gave your lives for the cause
No messing, they were told to get there and they went
Stiff upper lip, never mind the pain, grimace goodbye

Battles cause you to cry, they can be a lost cause
It is a time when many are sent away, off they went
War is not a game, people get hurt, die, the end, goodbye


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