A thousand men are marching by
A glassy stare in every eye
As they pass the sky grows red
We are not the living, but the dead.
Our lives were lost, taken away
Yet we all sought to live another day
Then guns and bullets toll’d our bell
And we were the ones they sent to Hell.
Far away, our loved ones grieve
Told by ‘patriots’ they must believe
Our sacrifice was for the cause
But the reason they’re given is ‘just because …’.
Our ghosts wish to see skies of blue
For me, “Dear wife, I dream of you”
It was not easy to leave for fields of battle
But you were spared the cry of my death’s rattle.
As the Sun sets o’er this land once more
Silence, where loud there was the cannons roar
All is peace, where before was endless noise
The guns are quiet, so let’s all rejoice.
What’s done is done for evermore
So never again will you open the door
To greet me as we embrace and kiss again
Because my love, you sleep alone, but with me there are a thousand men.
By Alistair Pope
16 April 2020
FILE IMAGE: Menin Gate at midnight – oil on canvas by Will Longstaff (1927). AWM ART09807