Thomas Heron

Ode To Private Howard

Ode to Private John Howard
Thomas Heron

Tough and strong, I marched along,
mindful of the fallen that day.
As I adjusted my tie, it just caught my eye,
a soldier's cross that had faded away

Armed only with flowers, I'd travelled for hours
my mission was a simple convention.
Storm weary and tamed, but certainly not shamed,
it begged for my urgent attention!

Lonely and lost, unaware of the cost,
it struggled for life with the dead.
Once someone's brother, the son of a mother,
of whom much had clearly been said

As I knelt by this cross, and cleared out the moss
a tiny plaque, rested at its base.
Weathered and cracked, it was what I lacked,
a name for this unfortunate case

'Here lies a coward, by the name of John Howard!
As the guns of the Kaiser boomed out,
he abandoned his mate, to become a figure of hate,
a Tommy, a traitor, a lout!

At the command to advance, he fell into a trance.
Good men stepped forward, their fear was dire.
Breathing in the deathly stench, he squirmed in his trench,
as his chums screamed and fell on the wire

He whimpered and cried, as all his mates died.
A yellow streak, a gutless rat and a wimp!
Many fine British heads, were swiftly cut to shreds,
as Howard whinged and his spine became limp.

Cordite filled the air, as we shot John Howard there.
A firing squad laid down a mighty volley.
Blindfolded, gagged and bound, he fell upon the ground,
his bloody death, a reminder of his folly.

Time has almost eroded his name, and hidden his shame.
A forgotten warrior slain in a distant land.
A man with no friend, all alone in the end.
Destroyed by his own people's hand


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Submitted: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Edited: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This was composed to support a short Youtube film entitled 'The Last Salute' and is the first poem I have written.

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