Tuesday, 12 February 2013

About one of the Great Rissington WW1 brothers: Frederick...

Souls Never Found


Displaced, he rose,

Caked with the mud and debris of the summer Somme:

Helmet misplaced,

He scratched his infested hair,

Blinking in the quiet, strange light,

Barely noticing the flies in cadavers

And the rats feasting upon comrades’ flesh,

The fetid stench, the groaning undead,

The vomit, the contortion, the waste.


Displaced, he stepped,

 Baked in the location of his absent battalion:

Rifle misplaced,

He sought his injured brother,

Slinking into Rouen’s hospital post,

Hardly noticing the legless torsos

And the bandages congealing on comrades’ eyes,

The putrid stench, the shrouded dead,

The tears, the distortion, the distaste.


Displaced, he hovered,

Slaked with the sweat and adrenalin of the rush of war;

Pain misplaced,

He watched a writhing embolism,

Breaking his brother’s youthful heart,

Barely noticing the healing leg wound

And the matron’s helpless pleas,

The scribbled postcard, the urgent treatment,

The shock, the agony, the haste…


Displaced, he wept,

Flaked with the contusion and horror of his harrowing loss:

Life misplaced,

He meandered an aimless path,

Walking with smitten, crushed limbs,

Hardly noticing the passing days

And his own torn, lifeless body,

The filth, the pervading evil,

The need to be found, the need to be chaste…


Pete Ray

December 2010


Frederick Souls: written as if his soul’s search had found his brother, injured nearby, being treated for a wound to a leg but then dying from a blood clot to the heart on the following day… Frederick wanders still…

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