Sunday, 8 December 2019

Screams Unheard






                                                                             Imperial War Museum

                                                                                      
 Do not stand
 about here.
 Even if you are not hit
 Someone else will be.



Dear Reader,

We have been watching some wonderful old war series on DVDs shot in the 1970s.  "Enemy at the Door' is our favourite with some wonderful heart-warming stories about the occupation of Guernsey Island near France, in the second world war.  I often do think of both world wars and the incredible bravery of our soldiers, ( I suppose for all soldiers wherever they came from) and gasp at the things they did to help our side.

My father fought in the first WW as I told you on Remembrance Sunday and I so wish I had asked him about his experiences, and what he did to obtain the medals I found in his room after he died.

The poem for today I wrote after visiting a war museum in France, near Caen.  I was so upset that I had to leave before I had seen the whole museum and wept bitterly in the car park.  The friend I was staying with thought I would enjoy the outing - well how wrong she was.  She never did understand why I was so disturbed which proves, I suppose, that we are all so different, so diverse.


                                                                           *

Screams Unheard

It is very well done, she said,
the War Museum,
we will visit one afternoon.
Visit the dead?
I know the grief and loss war cause,
I remain silent, pause
then say, yes why not.

We did visit,
people crowded everywhere.
Schoolchildren were
chewing gum, shouting,
scribbling on odd pieces of paper,
bored with the uncool dead,
and old history.

We lunched in the restaurant
on hot soup, buttered buns,
then hurried downstairs
to inspect tanks and guns.
Under lowered lights
in ominous gloom,
sepia scenes of uniformed men
hung in a darkened room.

Underground now,
the bowels of the earth.
Ah, the virtual reality attraction
the gas chamber.
Permission to touch
the white tiles, the copper pipes
where the gas could come
not very nice, but very well done.

A teenager laughed,
licked his ice cream,
then wandered away,
obscene, obscene.

Normandy landings next
on film,
Sea-sodden soldiers, exhausted, cold,
weary young faces, made old,
blasts of noise, terror and blood,
bulleted corpses floating in mud.
Screech, more aircraft over,
some of  "our boys" after the Hun.
Very clever, very real,
very well done.

We should have gone to the Dolls
Museum, she said.
Perhaps more entertaining
than the dreary dead.

Did anyone else hear the screams,
or feel the grief, the anger, the fear,
all of the things I felt there?..........


                                                                             *


With very best wishes, Patricia

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