100 years since the end of the First World War 1918-2018
Every year around this time I get very sentimental.
My birthday is mid November…always close to Remembrance Day. If I’m home in the UK, I’ll share a moment with my good mates in the old SAS plot, set aside at St Martins church graveyard in Hereford, England.
They always listen to what I have to say, and they no longer butt in, I can still feel their energy.
If I’m overseas, I’ll try to find a quiet spot to take a moment to reflect.
The birthdays I’ve had while living here in America, I’ve walked out into the garden in the evenings with a wee whiskey…looked to the sky…and said “cheers.” I’ll do that again this year and hopefully the next… as I can still celebrate my birthday, but those great mates cannot.
When I was growing up as a young lad in Scotland, I remember listening to WW1 veterans, great uncles, their mates and others. I remember their tones…quiet, and oh so humble. I listened to WW2 veterans too, the very same…quiet, and oh so humble. When I joined the military and went across to the SAS Regt, I was honoured to meet and talk with a good handful of the originals. I was lucky enough to have met David Stirling the founder of the SAS Regt, as he attended an anniversary at the base. I served with men who cut their teeth in such campaigns as Malaya, The Radfan, Borneo and Oman.
I tell myself that it’s a great time to be alive…having met and served with such awesome individuals, having the pleasure to listen to them, learn from them, and try ever so hard to be just like them.
People much younger than me today now have to read about them, or see and hear about them in documentaries.
This year though…now 100 years from the end of WW1…
…the closer it gets, the more I think about it. Maybe because I’m getting old, maybe because I met and respected them, maybe because I fought and observed conflict for the best part of my life, a total of almost 40 years. Maybe because I lost comrades who I still miss today. Maybe because I care and appreciate now, what they all gave in their short lives?
So here we are:
This November it’s been 100 years
Since young soldiers dried away their tears
Marching home from victory to pride
But all along, hurting deep inside
The war to end all wars it was said
But that was never really put to bed
Another world war of blood and guts
From the air, the sea
Taking cover in the ruts
I was once a soldier in more modern times
Conflict is still here across all lines
I laughed, I cried, I stared, I grinned
Through the heat and the cold
The still and the wind
I’ll never forget my mates left and right
Our aim to be one, and to never lose sight
Now I’m older and have time to reflect
It hurts to think of war’s effect
Whatever the reason, we’re human on all sides
I’m sure we could just talk and heal those divides
I wear a poppy upon my breast
As I stand alone, pushing out my chest
For ALL the wars’ dead is what my poppy is for
But especially the men and women of the First World War.
5 thoughts on “My Poppy. A Poem By Bob Shepherd”
That’s a really beautiful poem Bob. It’s extremely captivating and moving. As we reflect in November I’ll re-read this poem and thinking of all who served all those years ago. Thanks to you also for serving. God Bless.
Hi Bob, great to read your feelings especially at this time of year. Must be difficult to have your birthday in close proximity to Rememberance day when people wish to celebrate your day, yet your thoughts are elsewhere. A great poem and thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will keep a copy to remember. I often wonder sometimes why I am still here, probably like you do when friends and colleagues of ours are no longer here. I wish you a happy birthday brother. Per Ardua
Thank you, that’s really kind…special time of year for all.
Bob that was lovely, straight from the heart
Big thank you Joyce. x