Home > Uncategorized > Wilfrid Wilson Gibson: He who killed men in foreign lands bore my name

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson: He who killed men in foreign lands bore my name

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

British writers on peace and war

Wilfred Wilson Gibson: Selections on war

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Wilfred Wilson Gibson
Back

They ask me where I’ve been,
And what I’ve done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn’t I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands…
Though I must bear the blame,
Because he bore my name.

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Bacchanal

Into the twilight of Trafalgar Square
They pour from every quarter, banging drums
And tootling penny trumpets: to a blare
Of tin mouth-organs, while a sailor strums
A solitary banjo, lads and girls,
Locked in embraces, in a wild dishevel
Of flags and streaming hair, with curdling skirls
Surge in a frenzied, reeling, panic revel.

Lads who so long have looked death in the face,
Girls who so long have tended death’s machines,
Released from the long terror shriek and prance:
And watching them, I see the outrageous dance,
The frantic torches and the tambourines
Tumultuous on the midnight hills of Thrace.

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Breakfast

We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,
Because the shells were screeching overhead.
I bet a rasher to a loaf of bread
That Hull United would beat Halifax
When Jimmy Strainthorpe played full-back instead
Of Billy Bradford. Ginger raised his head
And cursed, and took the bet; and dropped back dead.
We ate our breakfast lying on our backs,
Because the shells were screeching overhead.

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