Category Archives: Poetry

The launch of Echoes From the Forest

Echoes from the forest 102018 front cover onlyWho is JE Gallery? Well, I am. It’s one of my pen names.

“Why not print your poetry?” asked Kim one day. We had been chatting and I had shown her one or two of them.

So, still not being too sure I bounced a few off some more friends.  I had been writing my poems for about 10 years and had collected a couple of hundred, so what to include for my book? It was fun re-reading them, tweaking them here and there and choosing which ones would make the cut. I hope you all will enjoy them too.

Poetry is so subjective that one never really knows how others will take your work, and as all authors know, we often suffer from low esteem are unsure of our selves and conversely our work.

By the way, it hasn’t been written under a pen because I am fearful of how it will be received, but to separate my children’s books from adult works.

Echoes From the Forest will launch at Cafe la Plume on the 31st October 2018. I will be joined by Ashleigh Giannoccero, Evadeen Brickwood, Silke Kaiser, Corne Groenewald, Gerry Pelser and my best book buddy Kim Hunter, I can’t wait, yeahhhhhh!

Join us there at 10am if you are a lover of books and meet some incredible giants in the Indie book world, chat with us, get your books signed and dedicated and just hang with the authors for a morning.

 

Ok so this is the last one.

I just want to spare a moment for those who had no choice but to go to war. They couldn’t be conscientious objectors – they were not allowed to be. they too died, too many of them, and at times without even a care. I am talking about the animals dragged into mans conflict. they too deserve to be remembered.

Why Should We Bother Remembering?

Many would echo those sentiments, especially the young today, who may feel it’s ‘old stuff’ But its part of the old stuff that actually matters. To look down the barrel of a gun, some lads only 16 years old (they lied to die for their country.) and to take another man’s life… It wasn’t a computer game, it was real. So should we remember them, I say hell yes. My grandfather was in the First World War. apparently he never spoke about it:

“Some things you just don’t talk about.” he would say.

So to all the youth out there in the world, just remember you are here today because of them.

Lest we forget

Poppy petals waft in the breeze,

Like soldiers lined up, but standing at ease,

Their crimson petal’s all aglow,

Reminding us of, graves in a row.

 

Thousands fell in those fields,

Where flowers blew gently in the breezes,

And now in those fields, their ghosts roam,

Far away and unable to go home.

 

And as poppies sway in the fields,

They remind us how good may never yield,

Those crimson red flowers represent today,

The terrible price those men had to pay.

 

Such simple flowers, of pretty red,

On this day, representing the dead

Of all the wars man’s stupidly started,

Today our reminder of soldiers departed.

 

So at the 11th hour on the 11th day,

Take a moment to remember to say,

Thank you on this November morn,

To all those fallen so we may be born.

lest-we-forget

Christmas truce WW1

“We had a sort of truce on Christmas Day, and we were out in between the two trenches talking to one another. A German officer gave me two cigars, which were very good, and the men exchanged good wishes and smokes, etc. They told us that they didn’t want to fight us, as they had no grudge against us. They were mostly young fellows, and the officer was only about 21 years of age, and said he had only seen one year’s service. Nearly all the Germans spoke English, and there was one there about 12 years old and also one or two old men with bald heads, and one or two in civilian dress, so you can see they are rather a mixed crowd. It hardly seems credible, does it, but I saw it with my own eyes.” ~ unknown officer from the 8th division

It seems almost unthinkable now, as we look back at modern warfare, where war stops for no man. But that was a different age. there were actually three men killed that day. A young British (Pvt Percy Huggins.) a sentry was killed by a German sniper (Name unknown). His place was taken by a British sniper (Sargent Tom Gregory) who in turn spotted the German sniper and killed him. Just as he spotted the second German sniper he was killed by the same snipers bullet as he had spotted him first. there were a further 149 Commonwealth servicemen who passed away that Christmas Day from previous injuries. (And surely many Germans too.) However it goes down in history as the Christmas Truce.

 

Too lightly on life’s scales, compassion weighs. 

It was quiet on that day…

Once all the smoke and dust had settled,

I could even hear the birds singing.

 

Unlike today, today there is no silence, only continuous noise!!

 

Then it all stopped, just for a while…

There ahead of us we could see them, not more than a few hundred yards separated us.

They gazed back, no doubt with similar thoughts.

 

Today we just keep on loading and firing … loading and firing!!

Then from somewhere a ball appeared,

And we both started to climb out of our trenches,

Mud caking stiff limbs up to our knees, feet long since numb from the cold.

 

They are your enemy…. kill….. kill….. kill!!

 

We walked right up to each other, stopping only inches apart and stared into each other’s eyes,

I took his hand in mine as if he were a long lost friend,

And we smiled.

 

If you don’t kill him, he will kill you!!

 

I broke a small bar of chocolate and shared it with him,

He in turn, took out a picture and showed it to me, a woman holding a baby,

His wife and son. 
sharing-a-cigarette

What are you waiting for, destroy, maim, kill!!

 

Then we advanced into the no-man’s land that separated us,

and for which we had been fighting for for weeks now,

We played soccer,

Before finally coming together to sing carols.

Death….. death …….. death all around me!!

 

That day so long ago now was Christmas Day 1914,

The birth day of Christ And a time to give thanks.

Today it is Good Friday 1915 The death of Christ But today there is no peace,

no truce, no rejoicing no time.

Today I killed the soldier whose hand I had shaken and child I had seen,

Today I cried for him and what I have done, and for all humanity,

For today there is no time to morn Christ on this day of his death.

 

In 1914 we remembered his birth,

By 1915 there is no time to remember his death, or our redemption,

Today, too lightly on Life’s Scales, Compassion Weighs.

 

 

 

Thoughts maybe from the trenches.

How did they while away their hours of boredom in the flee hoping, rat infested trenches. We watch films that glorify war, make it clean and tidy, but the reality was very different. Death, stench, decay.

Hours drifting into days, boredom and complacency the greatest enemy.

Staring at Infinity

On a dew laden morning,

As the sun tries to creep through;

Along the edge of an autumn leaf

A perfectly formed droplet reflects the blue sky.

 

As one gazes into its eternal depth

It becomes clear that I am staring at infinity,

As it stars back at me.

 

A cacophony of memories past, present and still in the future, flash before me,

Tumbling at the edge of my awareness

Gnawing at my consciousness

 

Reflections sparkle with morning freshness,

Like a crystal shard,

Thousands of repeated images bouncing back at me.

 

Windows into worlds unknown,

Universe of my imagination waiting to be freed.

Is my future here, in a dew drop?

 

Mine a myriads of others

Who have shared this same view,

All staring at time with no end.

Until suddenly,

The movement of a nearby blackbird

Disturbs the tranquillity

And the moment is lost forever,

As the droplet plummets to the permanence of earth.

 

My view into this other world,

Remaining only in the glimpse of my last memory,

And leaving me only to question

 

And once it was all over…

Those who did come home were changed forever. but too many never reached their home shores again. I like on Armistice Day to particularly remember those who never came home.

bike

Here I will sit for all eternity

It’s cold…… ice cold,

Lichens cover it completely, it’s so old;

Letters and numbers carved into its face,

Lined up like soldiers, alone in this place.

 

I sit cross legged in front of one stone,

Until I realize, I sit here alone;

The grass beneath me is soft, cool damp moss,

As I gaze at the letters lying under the cross.

 

Staring at a name; in fact it’s my name

When suddenly I realize, that’s why I came

To look at the carvings cut deep in the stone,

And comprehend that name, that name is my own.

 

I sit here each day, not aware of the time,

But knowing the flowers by the graveside are mine.

Murdered and killed in the pouring rain,

Now I know how I was slain.

 

For I was taken ahead of my time,

Cut down by a gun at the height of my prime,

The trigger was pulled with no remorse,

I fought hard to live, but in the end died of course.

 

It was raining that day, the day that I died,

When men wept for comrades, and the women they cried,

The battlefield ran with rivers of blood,

And dead bodies piled in high in a human flood

 

It’s quiet now as I sit in front of this tombstone,

With a name carved upon it, a name that’s my own.

The graveyard’s now called a War Cemetery,

And here I will sit for all eternity.

LEST WE FORGET – he never came home

 

The War at Home…

At home too, women had to take the place of men in the factories, and fields.

Back home too they said goodbye and waited.

Forgotten Heroes

– Women of war –

 

They stood at the train station, blowing kisses with love,

Waiting and waiting for the train to move off;

Sending their loved ones off to the war,

Men and boys leaving families they adored.

 

They wrote of love, loving and lust,

Waiting and waiting as his clothes gathered dust,

Not knowing where or how he might be,

Or whether each other again they would see.

 

It’ll be over soon, letters home would reply,

Waiting and waiting as long days drifted by;

No news was a killer, destroyed theirs souls,

Days with no end left them lonely and cold.

 

Women with children and babes in the womb,

Waiting and waiting for him to come home;

But how will he be when his war is over,

The same man who left, husband, lover?

 

War gardens planted and children schooled,

Waiting and waiting, but nobody was fooled

As summer was replaced by winter’s cold,

The rhetoric of leaders futile and old.

 

Women built planes, bombs and ammunition,

But inside waiting and waiting with anticipation

For that telegram to come that all women dread,

The one saying MIA or worse he was dead.

 

 Those women kept going by loyalty and love,

Waiting and waiting for a sign from above

That he was safe and still coming home,

Not dead in the trenches, abandoned…… alone

 

It was quiet in the street when the postman passed by,

For some the waiting and waiting was over with a cry

Of anguish and loss of their brave men,

Who would never come and see them again.

 

They stood at the station, hugging and kissing,

Then waiting and waiting as a loved one went missing,

Now his war is over and she was so brave,

The children never seeing her weep at his grave.

 

Today I say to those women of war,

Who waited and waited for the loved ones they adored;

We do not forget, you were sad lonely and blue,

But today I am here, strong, healthy because of you.