Talented poet Gordon Simmonds has appeared in this slot a few times, with some beautiful, moving poems. If you haven’t read them please do: Everybody Dies, When I am Gone, Paschaendaele, Joe’s War , The Piper in the Graveyard and An Old Soldier’s Thoughts. You can read another below:
More Old Soldiers Thoughts
So much I’ve writ and thought and said,
‘Gainst war, futility and much untimely death,
Yet even as these words I write, the Warlords rise once more.
By power and evil hatred driven mad
These dogs of war betray their warrior heroes past.
Across the Balkan hills they stride
For each atrocious act from which they draw their pride
As would some morbid craftsman to a willing master,
Declare a job well done.
Whence all those willing helpers come, I do not know.
So many deaf to children’s cries and mother’s pleas
And blind to ragged ruins of wretched suffering and pain.
I wish it were my power to say, ‘Be done.
No beast to these dark depths would bring his fellow beasts,
So let not power by man reduce his fellow man.’
And when these soft spoke words are done,
The stick from its dark scabbard drawn, must rise
To strike the evil from the hearts of those who will not hear.
And in the great arena show,
The warlords and their mighty cohorts where
God’s great dream of right and wrong doth draw the line.
I hear the cries of men who would have peace,
Who think ‘Desist. Desist’ when shouted loud and long
Will save us from the dark ambitions of wicked men,
E’en when the dagger to the heart is plungèd to the hilt
They cry ‘Desist’.
Our wish for peace, for love and harmony to reign
Is deep within each human heart entrained,
So how are we, in innocence and dread, to know
Just when, to the tormentor talk or make relentless war.
As this old soldier ponders twixt the two, the test
Within this faulted fathers conscience says:
‘Now that I’m too old to fight,
My son, go out and help to put things right.’
Gordon has published these poems and others in a book, ‘War and Remembrance: Poetry about war and injustice, its consequences, and remembrance of those affected‘. You can download it from Amazon.
Here’s a little bit about Gordon’s background and writing, in his own words:
“My name is Gordon Simmonds born and raised in Essex, England. I left school aged 15 and joined the British Army where I discovered early on that I was a good scholar but a bad soldier. I left the Army nine years later and became what I now call an industrial mercenary – in fact I’ve never had a proper job since, and have worked in, and travelled the Middle East as well as my adopted Lincolnshire.
“I would describe myself as a shy extrovert. If you see me on the street I’m likely to be wearing a cowboy hat and boots, or a Scottish kilt and playing the bagpipes. I love to race – either bikes or karts and I once had some talent as a fencer where my hard, aggressive style achieved some notable victories.
“As a writer and poet my work is severely limited by work and inclination. My first poem was broadcast on the BBC while I was still at school. My next poem wasn’t published until 34 years later.”
If you’d like to see your work in my Guest Writer Spot, please contact me here or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines.