Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Repost - The Letter

Today, April 25th, is ANZAC Day in Australia.
Ninety-seven years ago Australian and New Zealand soldiers were landed in southern Turkey
as part of Churchill’s ill-conceived plan to attack Germany from the south.
Thousands died.
I wrote this two years ago but it still seems appropriate.

There’s a picket fence and a cottage gate,
An anxious frown, the postman’s late…
He comes at last, he understands,
And the precious envelope changes hands.

The Letter

Dearest Mother, it’s late, it’s cold,
Me and some mates are in a trench,
Huddled for warmth, no food, no smokes.
I can’t begin to describe the stench
Of the bodies we have no time
To bury in any sort of respectful way.
They say the push is on tomorrow,
Never have I so dreaded the day.
It’s a lottery, you know, who gets shot
We shout and holler and run the guns,
To drop and dig all over again.
Greetings from Hell, your loving son.


As every mother ruefully learns
It’s not her son who eventually returns;
There’s a stranger standing in her hall,
If, of course, he returns at all.

Translated from the Turkish.

© 2010 - J Cosmo Newbery
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  1. Very moving.

  2. An ugly time pinned to the page beautifully. Thank you.

  3. Heartfelt and moving dear J Cosmo and such a waste of life.
    xoxoxo ♡

  4. oy this one is heavy...far too many that dont come my emotions stirred just thinking about it...

  5. Good one. Is it really translated from the Turkish?

    Just to say too, I've finally got around to ditching the WV at mine, and have put moderation on posts over 30 days old - I get fed up with scraping spam off really old posts, more recent ones I'll put up with it. I'll see how it goes. The old WV never seemed too much of a chore, but these latest ones really are a pain, I know they put people off. Thanks for commenting anyway, as I know you don't usually on principle if the WV is on.

  6. No, the comment about Turkish was put in to emphasize that both sides suffer equally. To the best of my knowledge, you are the first person to notice it.

  7. War is a tragedy! It is to satisfy some weird thinking of the leaders. Only ordinary people/soldiers suffer. Great reminder, Cosmos!


  8. read this one before obviously...but still felt...and effectively presented...

  9. You final lines really strike me. Even without visible scars, no one comes back from war unharmed. And, I also noticed the translation note, and saw your reason for it in the comments above - that's subtly brilliant.

  10. What a great structure - impressed.

  11. Appropriate in the truest sense of the word ... beautifully composed.

  12. Very moving and worth re-posting so that people like me, who missed it first time, can read it.

  13. Powerful write.

    And sadly true.



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