4/6: “Somme, 1916”

raising their hands, one by one,
a tribe of men volunteer their lives
in the blood and muck of hard-dug trenches
the tranquil valley river Somme —

tremendous shells burst in the air,
massive metal bodies lay everywhere,
after the bomb —
but before they were done —
the graveyard river Somme —

the sweet curling river, the dividing one,
that sparkles in a rising sun,
that giver of life,
and witness to strife,
become Charon’s river now —

carry your passengers away from home
to familiar waters known
somewhere, nowhere near the Somme —
leaving an empty quiet —
for none are left to tell the tale
of what made weeping widows wail
and grown men crumble in its wake
on the day the earth did shake
around the river Somme —

blood soaking in the riverbed
in no man’s land they left behind
of far too plenty the lord did find
after the abandonment of mankind
by the gory river Somme.

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