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“
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.