The Band of Blind and Buggered


First in line, as I have some vision
…slightly blurred.

I am well used to the dark as a miner.
(Must find a way to live like this.)
At least I can still sing.

Oh God. What a needless war.



I joined up to get away…

Goodbye to the windy island
Isolated, with bloody sheep.

Got to London – what a revelation!
Warmth and cultured people.
I was eating a meal
When all hell broke loose.

All is now darkness – not going back
to Orkney.
London’s out too.
Go South to find something to do.
(But who wants a blind shepherd?)

Oh God. What a mindless war.



Must not stumble for the men behind
…and those in front.

Just a flash – then black darkness.

Won’t be able to gather flax
Though I could learn to weave.
Will my girlfriend be waiting for me?

God what a sodding war.



I asked to go to the Somme
To bring comfort and succour to our troops
Two days in and shrapnel hit my face
Left me scarred and blinded

Now I cannot read God’s Holy Word
Or serve the Eucharist.
(Though I may take Confession.)

Oh God. What an unholy war.



I enlisted as my family expected
For centuries we have served our country.

Blinded now and incapable of walking upright.
(Will I be able to ride a horse?)
No more hunting, though fishing is possible.

My brother will take over our Estate.

God. What a wasteful war.

Anna James


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