The Soldiers at Lauro
Young are our dead Like babies they lie The wombs they blest once Not healed dry And yet - too soon Into each space A cold earth falls On colder face. Quite still they lie These fresh-cut reeds Clutched in earth Like winter seeds But they will not bloom When called by spring To burst with leaf And blossoming They sleep on In silent dust As crosses rot And helmets rust.
Editor's note: Spike Milligan, better known as a humourist, served as a bombardier in the Royal Artillery. This, his first serious poem, was written after burying the dead following a direct hit on his battery that left only two survivors.
- The Voice of War -- Michael Joseph Ltd (1995)