When Bill became the Kaiser the world began to shout
His brain was stuffed with thoughts of fame and extra sauerkraut
He waxed his tash and broke his toys and stamped his foot in glee
Ten million men would meet their fate on the whim of his devilry.
[Except, of course, it wasn’t just old Kaiser Bill who thought up this insane devilry.]
There once was a Kaiser called Bill
Whose brain box was over the hill
When he thought he could fight in his undies and vest
He was in for a fright when he was put to the test
As he ended up catching a chill.
There once was a crèche of royal cousins
Whose joint IQs scored only in dozens
When they preened and panted for all-out war
They found that the generals couldn’t keep score
As the dead on all sides counted in millions.
Poem 1 Uncle Albert – The Unlived Life
We called him ‘Uncle’ although he wasn’t that
For he lived next door and wore a trilby hat
And for fifty years being the fast-walking dead
He walked all day with a shell-shocked head.
He’s absent from any war memorial stone
Although no memorial could ever atone
For the shell-shocked Hell of a life imploding
Immense percussions of close shells exploding.
Unlooking eyes with unwavering gaze
And seeming trapped in a deadly daze
He stared ahead, quite straight ahead
The staring stare of the living dead.
Poor Albert marched each day around our City
And in many broken hearts there welled up pity
This tall, unseeing ghost in trilby hat and gabardine
Silent witness to a war that should never have been.
While I as a child with my unseeing eyes
Never aware of Albert’s hidden cries
As he daily marches for fifty long years
Only now I see, through a veil of tears.
Poem 2 The Staring Man
From his sister’s house steps out the staring man
Shocked speechless by the juddering shells
Some fifty years before
Seeing not the playing child
Who, studying the ramrod man but fleetingly
Sees him marching ahead and only ahead
Towards his daily, unconnected world again.
Only now does the former child
Sense perhaps the fearful prison
That held poor Albert
In its savage grip
For fifty years.
And the child of those far distant days
Now weeps for him.
Should Bobby, Margery or Raymond read these two poems about their uncle, I would love to hear from them. Ric.