- MG 15.20
Fonds consists of the following poem, written on Armistice Day, 1932:
Do You Remember?
I see by the news in this morning's papers
The God of War is again cutting capers.
The nations, we're told, are all ready for battle;
At a drop of a hat the sabers will rattle;
But before we'll enlist, and our knapsacks stow
Let's see what happened just a few years ago.
A prince or a pauper was shot in fourteen.
At that time the blood was just a small stream;
From that to a river, then to a cascade
And for four bloody years not a whit did it fade.
Remember Ypres, that line with a curve?
In that salient plenty died, their country to serve.
And Mons, the battle, that was a retreat!;
Some called it victory, some others defeat.
It was not for us to decide who was right;
We were just there for one thing, and that was to fight
And while in that sector don't forget Sillibeck
Where death stood by and with fingers did beck.
He collected his thousands at bleak St. Eloi;
Passchendale and Kemmel must have filled him with joy.
He gathered his full quota at old Dicie Bouche,
Before, after, and at the end of the push.
Remember Cloth Hall and torn Ypres Square
That you crossed by good luck, or maybe a prayer?
Then Hell Fire Corner was your destination;
Will you ever forget there that field dressing station
That you passed so swiftly, just holding your breath,
For to stop there an instant was almost sure death?
But move farther south and of time make a bridge;
Let's see what happened around Vimy Ridge.
White crosses bear evidence of that awful slaughter;
Why, blood was so plenty, it ran just like water.
And Crucifix Corner, far up on the way
To the saving Victim you had this to say,
"Open wide the Gate of Heaven to us below
Thy aid supply, Thy strength bestow."
Did you forget the fronts ahead of Bruay,
Boveeney, Hersin Compeeniee, and Ester Cushay,
Lens, Arras, Mericourt and Bethune,
Monchy, Carency, not forgetting Bapune?
This was no Gettysburg, nor yet Waterloo,
But a continuous battle, all the way through.
Now, let's stop at Amiens, that city so fair
And ponder awhile on those buried there;
The flower of youth who was so impatient
To lay down his life for his very own nation;
For Democracy to guard, and always to keep.
I don"t know whether to laugh ...... or ......to weep.
Now on to the Somme, and to Courselette; ,
Things happened there you'll never forget.
Remember the town Albert, with just a few people,
And the Virgin bent over the old church steeple?
With outstretched arms she watched you go by
As if praying for those about to die.
And maybe, as they looked far above,
Said, "Touch my spirit, 0 Fountain of love."
After the battle you passed on that street.
There she was, lying down at your feet,
All covered with mud, battered and broken;
A piece in your pocket you took for a token.
Of course you picture with some alarm
The remains of your buddies at Molke's farm.
If your mind is clear and can still bear the load,
Just think of the dead along Sunken Road.
And the sugar refinery that once was so sweet,
Where the flies started on sugar, but ended with meat.
In those battles we thought we were awful good,
But the Yanks did the same down Belleau Wood.
Now down in that sector I am not familiar,
But you can take it from me it was just similar.
With valor and courage they fought Chateau Thiery;
That they won the baltle is still the old theory.
If you ask my opinion no battle is won
With bombs or sabres, cannon or gun;
For it's got to be finished the lame and the blind.
The nerve broken vets, the lame and the blind.
A million lie dead down in Verdun;
They called it a victory and a fight well done.
If that is the case, to that I retort,
"Bring Back my buddies, you take the fort!"
But what's the use of talking and taking your time?
There are as many heroes across on the Rhine;
And in Austria, Russia, and Turkey too;
In Italy, Spain, and down in Peru.
What we were fighting for, excuse the pun,
We were not mad with Austrian, Turk, or Hun.
Just because a prince got rubbed out with some lead
They crippled and maimed and left five million dead.
Now before I finish let me you remind
Of the trenches, the vermin, the gas and the grind;
The funkholes, the sunkholes, the shellholes and craters
Also the liquid fires that were merely crematers.
The lousy dugout, the miner's wet sap,
The listening post by the wire just out at the gap,
Where you lay there and shivered without even a grumble
If you'd anything to shoot at, the chance is you'd fumble.
Do you remember the mud, the muck and the rain -
Number nines from the doctor to cure all your pain?
Just listen to me-war's not what it's painted-
The rations were bad, the water was tainted.
Can't you hear still the scream of the big shells,
As your haIr stood on end and your blood it did jell?
The rattle of machine guns, the crump of the motor,
The cry of the wounded just pleading for water.
What about the coal boxes, the fish tails and stokes
With a number on them for some of the blokes?
The swish of the whiz bang, the moan of the dying
You were there, Buddy, you know I'm not lying.
Now about the wounded still walking our streets;
Maybe to some life is still sweet.
To others life, I know, must be near zero.
Well, what do you expect? You're just a live hero
Don't you remember at the end of the war,
You got a gold medal, and also a bar?
For the others, I mean the ones that are dead
Will give you a requiem of sights, and tears that are shed
By mothers, and sisters, or maybe a wife,
Sweetheart, brother, or dad, bet your life.
So you thought you're a hero! For crying out loud!
Why, you old sap, you're just one of the crowd!
Don't talk war to me; just hold your whist.
Let's stow our knapsacks. What say we enlist?
MacLean, Charles J.