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Lessons

A tribute to their glory,
Reminder of War's shame,
Each stone simply bears
Unit, Rank and name.

They are there like Regiments
Arrayed in Open Order Parade,
Every single cross there marking
Where a Hero was finally laid.
I suppose an air of sombre peace
Overhangs this mass resting place;
You can see so many emotions
Etched on each visiting face.

In some places there are trenches
Preserved on those killing fields
Purposeful grim reminder of
That bitter War's grim yield.
They were mown down by thousand,
Some near buried where they'd stood
Enveloped by that shell torn earth
Turned into clinging, cloying, mud.

Some nearly advanced to victory
Until the cruel withering fire
Left them so very nearly there
But hanging dead on enemy wire.
Now the cemeteries stand there
With their awful type of beauty
Each cross a scant reward
For a life given in duty.

And so they lie in their lines,
A tribute each one earned,
And in spite of those reminders
The lesson still isn't learned.


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Lessons

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