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Remembering the Somme

by Jojovits1 

Posted: 02 July 2016
Word Count: 75
Summary: Letters home x

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Not long love.
They keep saying that
it’ll be soon
and I’m biting to get at
something other
than rats.
How are the boys?
Do they miss me?
Tell them Daddy will be home
after the big push
I can’t write any of this.
All censored.  Buggers.
But this is what I’d
say if you were here.
This, and I love you.
Keep safe.  I’ll see you
when I’m home
and the rats are gone.

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Comments by other Members

Cliff Hanger at 16:27 on 03 July 2016  Report this post
Hiya Jojovits (is it Jo?)

Another poignant poem.

Interesting how this particular conflict inspired so much poetry at the time and still does. This one is clever because of what it doesn't say rather than what it does. It is hearbreaking to think of men writing home with hope when there was nothing but a dreadful fate waiting. The form of it as a letter but in short poetic lines really works.



Jojovits1 at 19:00 on 03 July 2016  Report this post
Thanks Jane 

more flash than anything but I felt I had to do something x

James Graham at 20:05 on 05 July 2016  Report this post
Nothing to criticise here, Jo-Ann. Like other poems we’ve had on the subject, yours focuses on one soldier, under the title ‘Remembering the Somme’. This I think is the best way to remember, or commemorate, 100 years later: remember the individual human beings.

For me the best feature of this poem is its authenticity. From beginning to end it reads like a real letter home from the front. The tone is authentic, the writer trying to be as positive as he can, optimistic and reassuring. Of course the ‘It will all be over soon’ message was fed to the soldiers all the time, but I imagine by 1916 many of them would not believe it however much they wanted to. Still, they were careful to write in that vein in their letters home. The reader also gets from the poem the irony (for us) of that reassuring optimism – knowing as we do how terrible it was and how much worse it got.

Something else that you handle very well is in these stanzas:
I can’t write any of this.
All censored.  Buggers.
But this is what I’d
say if you were here.
This, and I love you.

He’s telling her he would like to be free to write a lot more (not negative things, I imagine) but curses the censors for not allowing it. But he says the most important thing: ‘I love you’. I like that touch.

So altogether an excellent poem, and no revision needed. Well done!


Jojovits1 at 20:48 on 05 July 2016  Report this post
Thanks James.

It's always been a period that's fascinated me and my favourite books are the Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker.

I'm still amazed at the genuine courage...although they probably wouldn't have seen it as that.  Duty and honour...and sometimes just pure, blind naivety.

I am in awe of every one of them.


nickb at 21:13 on 05 July 2016  Report this post
Hi Jo, I can only second what James has written.  The directness of the poem is one of its great strengths.  It is such a vast subject that I think one of the best ways to tackle it is to focus in on a single moment which you do very effectively. It is incredible what they went through and the stoicism they displayed.  The matter of fact language in the letter conceals so much.  Really enjoyed.


Jojovits1 at 21:29 on 05 July 2016  Report this post
Thank you, Nick :-)

Bazz at 13:24 on 06 July 2016  Report this post
Hi Jo, poignant and restrained, this is a great form for a poem, there's something so immediate about a letter, and the idea that it would be one of so many, it captures something very real...

V`yonne at 13:26 on 06 July 2016  Report this post
It's quick and pithy and sad and just that kind of communication of heart and soul that couldn't take plce because it is impossible to read the heart but somehow you have.

And Regeneration -- the books and the film -- Oh yes indeed!

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