War and History Poetry posted August 17, 2014


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A Cautionary Tale

Brave Robert

by tfawcus

Such tears of laughter, tears of joy
Were wept upon this lovely boy.
He was a cheerful little chap,
Which sometimes saved him from the strap.

Tears often flowed, it's sad to say,
When Robert did not get his way,
And at those times his father said,
'Now dry those eyes and off to bed!'

When nightmares breeched his inner fears
His parents wiped away his tears;
They saved him from emotion's wave;
They soothed and hushed him: 'Son, be brave!'

They gave him Christmas games of war,
Bright leaden soldiers on the floor.
He came of age and joined the ranks
To play with somewhat larger tanks.

The banter in the barrack room
Brought tears of laughter, not of doom,
But even so he dried his eye;
It was ingrained; real men don't cry.

In coming days his best mates died.
He kept his tears locked up inside.
They swamped his heart without a sound.
His eye stayed dry, but he was drowned.


Recognized


The image is of the St. Julien Memorial "The Brooding Soldier", a Canadian war memorial in Belgium commemorating those who died in the Battle of Ypres, in World War 1.
My father served in the trenches where he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre before being seconded to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917.
Robert was not his name, but it might have been. He never spoke about his experiences. I was unsure if that was to protect himself or to protect me.
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