Sunday 10 June 2012


William Barnsley Allen  1915

Dignified Captain, posed
in front of family home
for pre-embarkation photo
on the lawn, early morning;
ninety-seven years ago.

What are you thinking?

That it'll all be over by Christmas?
Of how you'll miss your fiancee, Mary;
but that in no time at all
you'll be on your way home
to make her your wife?

What are you feeling?

Tense? Apprehensive, without knowing why?
Certainly not confident,
I can tell by your face.
You seem much older here
than your twenty-three years.

What wind rustles these leaves?

Is it a cold wind
blowing in from France
that chills you to the bone?
Or could it be the wind of prophecy
that brings such disturbing sense
of doom and despondency
to every fibre of your being?

Tragic Hero,
do you already half know
of the suffering to come,
and how you'll die
so young?


  1. Sadly not many returned after the war to marry their sweethearts, but that's the price you pay for freedom :-).

    1. He was one of the "lucky" ones but, sadly, returned a broken troubled man.
      I can't begin to understand how any of them coped with such horror.
      I know I couldn't have :(

  2. This has a ghostly feel to it, both photo and words. Did you write this remembrance on his birth date?

    Here's his obit if you haven't read it already:

    1. Yes, I did.
      I was just sitting and thinking of him on his birth date and had to write something.

      Many thanks for the http address. I will check it out in a moment :)

  3. Splendid. Very accomplished, indeed. A tragic if familiar story well told - and needing still to be told. Congrats.

    1. Thank you very much Dave.
      I probably shouldn't feel this way, but I sometimes look around me and see people (myself included) 'going to pieces' over the most trivial things, and then I think of the horrors these boys had to live through; and I can't help but feel rather ashamed...

  4. How sad! And so sad it is still happening - eager young men and boys off to fight a war ... well you know the rest. Your writing is so emotive Ygraine you are an extremely good writer you draw the reader in no matter the subject :)

    1. Thank you so much Rose.
      Yes, it is sad. If only the powers that be could see the light.
      I suppose we can only hope that one day...:)


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