A war poem

light brigade

I’ve written a lot here about other people’s war poems, so when one of my own is published, I might as well post it here too, even though the war is not the Great one that I usually write about.

The  Spectator sets a literary challenge each week.  This time it asked us to imagine a collaboration between two poets.  So I speculated what would have resulted if John Betjeman had helped out  Tennyson when writing The Charge of the Light Brigade:

Steel from Sheffield, hearts from Woking
Take the valley like a storm.
Last night they drank champagne and brandy;
Last year they bullied in the dorm.

Half a league and half a league more,
Though the air is thick as cake
With cannonballs instead of currants.
Surely there is some mistake?

Six hundred soldiers ask no questions;
Smoke and terror parch their throats.
Mr Russell of the Times
Is very busy making notes.

That night the colonel writes a letter;
It will make the whole world lurch.
The family will place a simple
Tablet in St Leonard’s Church.

One Comment

  1. Tom
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink


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