Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

Blarst the Flamin' War!

2nd Prize - Themed Section "Inspired by The Moods of Ginger Mick" - 2016 CJ Dennis Toolangi Poetry Competition

The year 2016 marked 100 years since the publication of CJ Dennis' poetry collection "The Moods of Ginger Mick", sequel to his hugely successful "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke". For this commemorative themed section of the annual written poetry competition, I chose to have our perpetual mate Bill looking back at the century since Ginger Mick sailed for the Middle East during World War One, never to return.

Blarst the Flamin' War!
(c) Shelley Hansen 2016

A hunnerd years since Mick went orf ter war
ter fight an' die upon a forrin shore.
They sed 'is sacrifice wus not in vain,
but even now I arsts meself, "Wot for?"

The War ter end orl Wars – that's wot they sed
an' justified the cost in 'uman dead
by sayin' it would not occur again -
but them's the "famous last words" that yeh dred.

In twenny years the world wus on the brink
uv somethin' worse – but did they stop ter think
before they climbed aboard the same ol' train
ter rite more 'ist-ery wiv blood as ink?

"Wot's orl this flamin' war?" Mick sed ter me.
"It ain't no play, no stoushin' fer a spree
like us in Little Lon'. We?re down the drain
if England needs our 'elp ter rool the sea."

But then I 'ardly saw 'im arfter that –
'e donned the Kharki yooniform an' 'at.
'E musta sorted out 'is muddled brain
'an come ter a conclooshun 'ow 'e sat.

We got 'is letters – rote the same ter 'im –
orl cheery-like, ter take 'is thorts frum grim
'ard battles, fort fer them wot 'ad disdain
fer commin soljers, slortered on a whim.

Fer war's a grisly tool ter feed the greed
uv coots in glarssy 'ouses, 'oo don't 'eed
the people 'oo could tell 'em it's insane -
'oo jist want peace, wivout wot 'atreds breed.

Mick rote 'is name in 'ist-ery, they say,
but orl that I kin think uv is the day
when three words Killed in Action brort the pain
uv loss, like sun an' moon 'ad fled away.

'Ow many wimmin wept like Ginger's Rose
fer needless killin' uv the boys 'oo chose
ter do wot they believed would bring some gain,
but didn't know that ain't the way it goes?

'Ow many soljers come back 'ome ter find
that bandages won't 'eal a broken mind
wot's bin forever blotted wiv the stain
uv images wot can't be left behind?

The world 'as moved along since Mick wus killed,
an' there 'ave bin advancements frum the skilled
an' clever noo invenshuns. Still, it's plain
that more than ever, 'uman blood is spilled.

The War ter end orl Wars wus s'posed ter bring
a golden age where safety wus a thing
wot ev'ry man an' woman would regain –
an' yet today, it's fear wot rools as king.

A world where there is danger in a crowd,
where vierlence is deadly, swift an' loud,
an' links ter acts uv terror like a chain -
we sees it orl. 'Ow kin we say we're proud?

When 'usbands 'it their wives an' 'urt their kids,
an' takin' drugs sets youngsters on the skids.
A world where neighbour love is on the wane -
Mick wouldn't want ter be alive – fer quids!

There ain't no peace wot Mick wus fightin' for.
It ain't jist cannons – peace is so much more –
an' so 'til them wot's arguin' abstain
I sez (like Mick sed), "Blarst the flamin' war!"

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