Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Over the Top!

The “Let Me Tell You How I Died” series is back! Continuing this week with Part II, which has seven segments about World War I. Segment two of Part II covers the horrors of charging out of the trenches against well-fortified positions, machine guns, and barbed wire. It was a tragic scenario that played out countless times across the Ypres Salient, and I saw the results with my own eyes – the thousands of white grave stones all across Belgium.



Over the Top!

Over the top and give ‘em hell!

That’s the command we know so well

The watch hands tick, it’s almost time

The shells start flying and churn up the grime

I stomp my feet, my breath comes in a cloud

Will I come out on a stretcher?  On my feet? In a shroud?

Behind us, our officer paces and grunts

A whistle to his lips, a shrill blast, then the guns

We spill over the trench in a screaming mass

I get snagged on the barbed wire while the others pass

Bullets go crack, I hear them whizz by

Aiming straight for me- will I now get mine?

Somehow I knew the answer was yes

I just knew that morning, like an unlucky guess

Shot right in the heart in Flanders field

Down I fall, not a soul will yield

I lay there in the mud, my breath fades away

I can’t see, I get sad, I wish I could stay

The last I see of this cruel Earth

Is gray dawn over Flanders, a new day’s birth

To Be Continued…

To Read Segment 1 of Part II, “Shelling” – click here

48 Comments on “Poetry Break – “Let Me Tell You How I Died” – Over the Top!

    • It all seems so futile sometimes! 🙁 Especially in that war. Thanks for giving this a read!

    • Thank you so much! I don’t often use it except in poetry. Because you’re right, it’s very effective, almost TOO effective 🙁

  1. It’s hard to imagine how so many people followed orders knowing how high the chances were that they’d be killed.

    • I completely agree. While mutiny did become pretty wide spread towards the end of the war, so many people just marched to their deaths. It’s unfathomable! 🙁

    • Exactly! And if anything was gained, it was usually at the cost of thousands of lives, and it was usually taken away in the end anyway.

  2. I always ponder your poems. Even now we still follow like sheep to our deaths in tragically preventable conflicts. This really illustrates the senselessness of it.

    • Yes, senseless is a perfect word to use! And you are also right in how many times things like this continue to play out. I sure wish we could find another way to settle our differences.

  3. This is very descriptive. I could picture this scene as it unfolded. Very sad. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talent with us!

  4. It was also tragic! You are doing an important task in helping keep their memory alive. They must not be forgotten. Thank you.

    • I agree – we should never forget! I’m so glad you enjoy it, and the readers are a part of keeping them alive, so thank YOU!

  5. Like other commenters pointed out, this piece really highlights the senselessness of war. The wonderful, productive lives that so many of those young men could have lived if they’d not been snared in war… And for what? So the world could do it all over again in 1939.

    • I know right? So futile. So tragic. 🙁 It breaks the heart!

  6. I like the way this one starts. And I always wonder when I read your poems if the soldiers thought this way when they marched to battle. Was it bravery, marching on forth and knowing they may never come back to loved ones? Was there another way out of the war, if only we humans compromised?

    • There should be another way out! We should be able to do better. As for what they thought while marching, I can’t even imagine! Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    • I agree – I so wish we could find other ways to solve our differences!

  7. You are extremely talented. I love how you use the written word to make people fall in love with history. Even folks who don’t feel themselves drawn to the subject can’t help but be pulled in by your charm. 🙂 Great read. Thanks for sharing your work! ♥

    • That is so sweet of you to say! Thank you so much <3 I'm so glad it moved you!

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