As small as a mouse
Entered the fray
So small and grey
And licked his lips
Straightened his hips
As he peered about
Screamed a shout
At advancing Gerry
Coming in haste to bury
Daniel and all his mates
Flatten them to dinner plates.
Of a sudden, an arriving sound
Came sprouting all around
And shells like confetti fell
Introducing sickening Hell
Amid poor German Daniels
Screaming as mad spaniels.
While from the blooded smoke
Arose one enemy bloke
Reddened and just tottering
As if out garden pottering
Forward and towards us came
And even though it was a shame
We chopped him down all riddled
And from his corpse blood fiddled.
“Well, Danny, you’ve succeeded
Though soon you will be needed
So watch out smartish all around
Straining for the slightest sound
Of their last Daniels stumbling
Make sure you send ‘em tumbling.”
But timid Daniel dazed and shocked
His notion of the world unfrocked
Chastened to his quivering soul
Leant against the trench’s pole
Chattering and spouting drivel
A mate in fury, “Stop yer snivel!”
And caught Dan’s dishevelled head
Now crumpled, sobbing as he bled
Rumours of taking Bourlon Wood
Generals may help, if they could.
And on the horrid, deadly morrow
A bitter day awash with sorrow
Here is Daniel with his bandaged head
Yet a German sniper saw instead
Other boys and other souls
In other places, other holes
The sniper sent apace to heaven
Six lads of ours or maybe seven
But Daniel’s head survived the day
When impish Satan came to play.
And through the weeks of deadliness
Crucifying man’s manliness
Daniel led a blessed life
Where Death was loving as a wife
Until his Unit left the front at last
With friends of his left in the past
He had survived the fearful storm
In truth, a credit to his uniform
Yet he saw that Death had played
A Roulette game Hate had made.
Our Daniel cried, imploring mercy
With Ed and Jim and brother Percy
For dreadful deeds that they had seen
The world aghast at what had been.
“Mercy, mercy, Lord we pray
And drive foul devils far away
Take all our fallen brethren in
Freed from terror, freed from sin
Take in too our fallen foes
Freed like us as Heaven knows
And may those who caused this war
Remain bestained for evermore.”
A hundred years have sighed and passed
And all the boys have gone at last
None to set accusation flying
None to hear pained widows crying
But still a few, like me, will fight
To pierce the dark, let in fierce light
On rulers spewing out such madness
Igniting universal sadness
Who sidled past their fearsome crimes
Emerged as heroes of the times
And lived lives touched with luxury
Crushing white bones of history.
Let Christ bring true judgment to us here
Before we too are no longer near.
Bourlon Wood – at one point, our infantry had to cross open
ground in full view of the German defenders. Rather suicidal,
one might think.
The wood became infamous, to the British and Canadians as well
as the Germans, for the terrifying casualty rates on both sides.
Oh, the insanity of it all……. their Daniels and our Daniels.