What treasured memories of home
consort with fright in poisoned air?
A great adventure that becomes
entrenched futility of war.
Schoolboys yesterday, now soldiers choked
in tainted mud.

Where blessed heads once lay, now sits
a thrush, whose song ‘come out! come out!’
Calls clear above the waste
of poppied ghosts in marbled fields.
Not knowing when their end began,
uncaring of their loss.

What thought now of empty desks, of silent guns,
and mothers mourning for dead sons?


Victor Church. A Richer Dust. 2009


For more information about how King Edward VI School and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon reacted to the events of the Great War, please click here.