WW1 Remembrance Poetry – Christ’s School, Richmond

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In an extended outreach workshop led by Imperial War Museum poet-in-residence Mario Petrucci, the Museum of Richmond worked with pupils from Christ’s School to produce WW1-inspired poetry.

Unlike the 20 minute poetry burst sessions, pupils were able to work for longer on their poems, producing fantastic results. These longer works include an exciting mix of open and blank verse, and all lyrically exploring the horrors of war.

A small selection of those poems are included here:

I start my life with a bang
It happens so fast, it happened so quick
I flew past, trench after trench, ally after ally
enemy after enemy
Nobody cars about me, nobody thinks twice
Do you know how I died?
I died a disgraceful death
I was fired out of your rifle,
I died embedded in your enemy’s head
by George Witney

Buried
Buried, Buried, 10 feet underground,
Never forgotten, never found
It was at that last moment
they looked at the sky,
Spoke a silent prayer
when they realised they were going to die
BANG, BANG, BANG,
the men tried to run as the bullets sang

Buried, Buried, 10 feet underground,
Never forgotten, never found
They thought it was a holiday,
they never knew the price they’d pay
Dark, damp, cold and wet
there are no privileges
WHY, WHY, WHY?
We never expected to be heroes, but
we never wanted to die
Buried, Buried.
by Josh F

Earthy and murky water,
Soaking up our dirt and mess,
Cleaning up our scars.
Showing us our reflection
Common, average men’s faces,
But it won’t reflect our stories,
Stories made on the battlefield.
It won’t wash away this war.
by Molly Taylor

Mist drifted through the trench, creeping through barbed wire
as men struggled to put on their gas masks. Some began to
cough and choke, machine guns rattled in the distance, shells
exploded. I stumbled over the slippery side of the trench, churning
up the soil. Bullets splattered the mud by my feet, soldiers
fell like dead meat. Flashes of gunfire blind me as the battle went on
Anonymous

Poison in the Wind
The chlorine gas came from the fields
We used the gas masks as our shields
For those of us that wore only hats
Would die in the trenches, filled with rats

The gas that killed 100 men
Would kill 100 more again
The men that watch their good friends die
Will only ask the question, why?
by Leone Baldry

A Short Poem
To whom does it belong to,
A creation designed for death
A cold-hearted killer forged
for darkness

To whom does it belong to,
A friend or a foe
You could see the flash, the destruction caused
But who does it help, the killed or the killer
by Harry G

Vergossene blut auf heiligen boden / spilled blood on sacred ground
The flat, cratered ground.
The muddy, the bloody, all in a row
Some kneeling, some standing, some staring, some weeping
“O mein freund” mutters one, who clasps,
and grasps, in his hand, a torn photograph
Of a big smile, twinkling eyes, remains
of a life stolen, never to be returned
We look at them from our side of the primitive barrier. Some laugh, some cry
all joining in with the sorrow, which
rises above us all, towards the heavens
getting bigger, louder, till we are sure
that the world can hear our cries …
But if they don’t, we don’t care, they
will remember all this spilled blood
on sacred ground for all eternity they
shall all be remembered … buried under the mud of Flanders field
by Charles Walsh

The Museum of Richmond thanks Christ’s School for its participation and the pupils for sharing their amazing work.

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