3 Squadron POEMS

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By  Ray JACKSON of Perth W.A.
(Written in memory of his father, prior to his visit to Thiepval Memorial in France in 2014.)


I stood in a field, in a faraway land; drawn to the spot, but could not understand…
What made me stop right next to this grave? 
And what was this strange sad feeling it gave?

Though there all alone, I really felt… a Presence of someone, and so I just knelt...

It seemed I needed to sit in the cold. 
...And wait for something, to me to be told…

“Why do you cry?” the young soldier said, “And why are you here in the field of the dead?”

His voice was so soft, I hardly could hear; and when I first looked, there was nobody near...
He looked like a shadow in his old uniform, and it seemed to me he could never be warm.

I knew in my mind he could not be real,
But it seemed his presence would help me to feel…
What all people think, when they come to see
The place where their loved ones lie, over the sea.

He asked me again and when I replied, I said, it was for all of mankind, that I cried.

I cry for the children that were never to be, when all of the soldiers went over the sea.

I cry for those fathers who all had to stay, as their sons went to war, in a land far away.

I cry for the mothers, every last one, who watched as the war took their dearly-loved son.

I cry for the girl who lost her sweetheart, as she waved him goodbye, when they had to part.

I cry for their friends, who at home had to be, as their mates went to war, far over the sea.

I cry for the man who lies in this ground, not knowing if ever his body was found.

I cry for the freedom this hero gave me.  And I cry that his knowing this, never will be…

I heard a soft sigh and his voice gently said: “This is my grave.  And though I am dead,
You have found me.  And so - I know I can rest,
Happy to know that we all gave our best.”

I then saw his eyes fill with tears; so I said: 
Who do you weep for, young soldier now dead?

As he faded away, like I knew he would do…
His voice said: “My son, my tears are for you.”


British and French graves at Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.   [Picture by Gerry Wasikowski.]

3 Squadron POEMS

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