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U3A Writing: Thoughts Of War

Vera Sanderson wrote this poem during a World War Two bombing raid.

Not for me a smoke filled bar
To bolt out thoughts of dreadful war
The marching of the boot-clad feet
Along the darkened city street
The hustle of this hot July
A hundred thousand shuffle by
With not a single breath to spare
To pause – to stand – to think – to stare..

No, not for me – my choice would be
A cottage 'midst a rain swept glen
A book, a glass,a pad, a pen,
A fire of logs, a pair of dogs
A kestrel's cry
And you and I..

The siren's shriek, the guns ablaze
Seeking shelter - in a daze
Then winging, whining, in the sky
A hundred bomber raid zooms by
“That's one of theirs – that's one of ours”
The noise goes on for hours and hours
“Who's getting it tonight” we cry
“Sheffield, Hull or Coventry?”

And not a chink of light must shine
I cannot see your face or mine
Yet somewhere, up there, at one mile high
A young, lone boy begins to die
Screaming, spiralling, down in the sky
For England, Germany, who cares
It's all the same alone up there

A sickening bang – was it a gun?
Have we got another one?
Some poor wretched mother's son
We sit and laugh and shout and sing
Tomorrow it might be your wing
Trapped over Hamburg of cologne
Never, ever to come home

What will they think of all this mirth
The ones who follow us on earth?
What if twenty years go by
Will lamps again light up the sky?
What will become of you and I
Better now to snatch our glee
We're half way to eternity.

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