A Mother’s Love.

A Mother’s Love.

There were no marching bands to greet him

The old railway station had never looked so grim

An empty platform, there was no cheering crowd

No shouts of bravado or of music played too loud

No flags, no speeches. There was nothing to be seen

It was as if it had never happened or had ever been.

So different from when they left for war, that lovely Summer’s day

Before their lives and limbs had been brutally blown away

Three  young brothers  had set sail

Only he had returned so damaged and so frail

Torn apart leaving ghastly wounds and deepest scars

To defend small nations in the war to end all wars.

Her husband had been a kind man 

A good catch for any young woman

She had made a good choice

He rarely raised his voice 

Gentle but as tough as teak

A man of his word, he often did not speak

Always ready to help those in trouble or in need

Whose crops had failed or required more seed

Shy and awkward, softly spoken 

His body lay crushed and broken

On a neighbour’s farm, trampled by a horse and cart

But it was the grief and sorrow that really stopped his heart

She had been left alone with the youngest son

Poor Tim was slow and the simple one

A child’s mind in a young man’s body

At least it kept him from the war and tragedy 

Unlike his three brothers Mathew, James and Joss

Two had died in a far off land. Such a terrible loss

Such a waste of young lives. Heartbreak and pain

Their life blood washed away in the pitiless rain

A blood sacrifice to the callous greed of men

In war after war again and again

Victory and defeat at so terrible a cost

And so much beauty and goodness lost

Nervously she waits, outside the railway station

As she summons the strength to face the situation

Trying hard to hold back the tears

Praying for the courage to overcome her fears 

She sees him, a broken man where her son had been

Changed by the horrors he has seen

His place taken by this gaunt stranger 

Who has been to Hell and back, through constant danger

Trembling hands and body shaking

Then he sees her there patiently waiting 

Mixed feelings surface of a survivor’s guilt and shame

“Welcome home James”  – she quietly whispers his name.

But a mother’s love knows no bounds or limitation

With love, patience, dedication and determination

He may recover his strength and sanity

Another pawn betrayed by corruption and ideology

Millions of lives shattered and torn to shreds

While politicians and bureaucrats stayed at home in their beds

And their puppet masters their fortunes made

The Lords of War, sold gun and grenade

Every bullet, every bomb, every shell by the case

To wreak havoc and chaos on the human race

Will they ever be called to account for their evil deeds

That puts their avarice and greed before the world’s needs ?

C Denis Murphy 06 November 2021.

I have tried to tell this story from both a mother’s and a survivor’s angle.

A mother who had seen  three of her sons go off to war.

Then lost her husband in a tragic farmyard accident, during the war, while he was helping a neighbour. Leaving her alone to raise her youngest son and run the family farm.

One of her sons survived and came home with severe injuries

So she also nursed and cared for him until he was well enough to lead a “normal“

Life.

I based this poem/story in the context  of WW1 and the consequences for a  mid Western  American family with a farming background.

But of course it can be applied to any war and nationality.

Lest we forget the sacrifice and the pain suffered by mothers, sisters and wives and all women during times of war. 

Men are not the only casualties. 

Note : Just to clarify. There were four brothers :  James, Mathew. Joshua and Timothy.

Tim was not drafted because of his disability.

James survived the war and recovered from his injuries.

While Mathew and Joss still sleep in a cemetery in France.

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