I wrote this short story after finding an old postcard – sent from the front during WW1.
The brave unnamed soldier asked about his Wife, and getting her ‘teeth fixed’, when he next came home on leave, ‘I hope the pain is not unbearable’ he wrote…!
Such care and thought – faced with he saw day after day.
It is also a fact that many soldiers did befriend the misplaced dogs that roamed the battle front – during WW1.
Hard to comprehend that less than 20 years later we went and did it all over again, and are still sending men and women, to their deaths to avenge the wrong of others…
This morning our billet took another hit.
Compared to what it has been, the gunfire seems to have abated some what; though far too many innocent men and animals are still being killed. For what real purpose I will never comprehend – I was going to add, until my ‘dying’ day, fear that may not be so far away.
Yesterday, a large black dog wandered up to me, its eyes full of terror, yet so soft, gentle and trusting as he looked to me for protection.
There is little food enough, but I was reminded of my dog back home, so I gave him shelter (such as it was). I was more that willing to share my meagre rations for the warmth and affection he so eagerly bestowed upon me.
I named him Ypres, and he soon became my shadow.
There is merriment in the camp today; as the parcels from home have arrived.
You might ask how anyone could find humour in such a god forsaken place – but we do!
You have to – for tomorrow may never come.
The folks back home always do us proud with – warm dry socks, cigarettes, food, and the letters that we all live for.
Ypres sniffs out the biscuits in my parcel, and we sit in the warm April sun shine sharing one between us.
What I would not give, to be back home; tending my vegetable plot and for all of this, to be a far, far distant memory – maybe even a dream, but it isn’t a dream it’s a nightmare and real.
Captain Forrester rides out along our lines on his horse Sir Bertram; his lovely little Spaniel Mollie, as always following close behind.
Ypres runs over to say ‘hello’, but Mollie simply ignores him.
She probably thinks he is far too below her breeding; so he scuttles back tail between his legs.
If only man could sort out their differences so easily, without the need to massacre each other.
What right do we have – to call ourselves, the intelligent ones?
The regiment has been ‘stood down’ for today, ready for tonight’s big push.
Most of the men are writing letters home, and putting their possessions in order.
I have already secured the safety of Ypres, should I not be one of the lucky one’s to return.
I will not let him be abandoned again in his hours of need.
In the fading light, we finish cleaning our weapons; trying not to think of the task ahead. Ours in not to ask why – we are here to do as ordered, fight for King and Country.
Ypres and I share, what could be our last meal together, before I tie him to a post with the words ‘be good and wait for me’!
The Sergeant blows his whistle, and a flare goes up!
Please Lord I do not want to die – I am too young – life is for living.
Jesus make it end – soon…
Pray for me, remember me!
Where poppies now bow their heads
is where we lay, the countless dead
rows and rows of unmarked graves
are all that remains; of our nations brave.
Poppy Taylor ~xx~