Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

April 8th and 9th poetry challenge:

I just returned from the Cenotaph where a small group was commemorating The Battle of Vimy Ridge, a hundred-year-old Canadian triumph in war history. People spoke and it was enlightening and a positive experience for me. On the other hand The Battle of Verdun in 1916, the previous year, had been a lesson in abject futility.

The Battle of Verdun- 1916

On August 21, 1914, my great-uncle
Charles Holland Haynes
Left Vancouver on a troop train
For military training
In Valcartier, Quebec
Brittania Ruled the Waves
Was the catch-phrase
Of the times
Those upstart Germans
And their allies
Daring to compete against
The British Empire and France
Taking over lucrative
World trading markets with
Cheaper inferior wares.
The first fatal shot
Had been fired
And every good Colonial boy
Was preparing to fight
For the Mother Country
Two years later on June 3,1916
My great-uncle Charles
Was reported “Missing in Action”
From The Battle of Verdun.
He was officially presumed
To have been “Killed in action”
In March of 1917

Historians refer to
The Battle of Verdun
As the “Greatest and lengthiest
Battle in world history”
Nine months of bloody
More than
Seven hundred thousand
Dead, wounded, missing
The battlefield less than
Ten square kilometers.
No place to hide.
The devastation carrying on
Long past
Any reasonable conclusion
Ultimately degenerating
Into “A matter of prestige
Two nations fighting
For the sake of fighting…”


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