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Two popular and long-established collections of  war poetry of the
First World War

Minds at War
A comprehensive
anthology of poetry of the First World War. All the greatest war poems of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon and war poems of over 70 other notable poets. All set in the context of the poets' lives and historical records. With historic photographs and cartoons.  Edited by David Roberts.
 400 pages £15-99 (UK)



Out in the Dark
Anthology of
First World War poetry recommended for students and the general reader.
19 poems by
Wilfred Owen
, 27 by Siegfried Sassoon and over 90 more war poems by 45 significant poets including women writers. Contextual information and basic notes on many poems. Illustrated.  Edited by David Roberts.
185 pages - £10-99 (UK)



Falklands War Poetry cover

The War Poetry Website - FALKLANDS WAR POETRY

Poems by men who served in the Falklands war of 1982 and others

2012 saw the 30th Anniversary of the Falkland's War

The new Falklands War Poetry anthology - with poems from Britain, Argentina and the Falklands, was published on 27 March 2012. Information about this, the contributors and the book may be found at Falklands War Poetry anthology.

Falklands War Poetry book cover

On this page (some of the poems that may be found in the anthology)

Poems by Nicholas Lutwyche (added November 2011)
and one by his wife, Lisa Lutwyche.
Poems by James Love
Poems by Cesca M. Croft 
Poems by Tony McNally

Nicholas Lutwyche - information about him

On a different page  -  the Falklands War Poems of Bernie Bruen
A further page of Falklands War poems - by Graham Cordwell

Musings on a small war
(Late reflections on a safe return from the Falklands War)

I watched the burials in the cemetery overlooking Ajax Bay,
grieved with their companions; thought of families far away.
There is a lonelier ground than this, so I’ve heard tell,
but where was it to be found? Nowhere this side of Hell.

T.V and newspapers have proclaimed the fighting’s glory;
for those down there it was a different tale; a truer story
of men, not all young, who fought and survived
their unlucky comrades-at-arms who have died.

How to account for each precious life taken away –
is it enough to recall that they did their duty this day?

Tell it so to those families who, in desolation and sorrow,
have given up yesterday’s light for a black tomorrow.
Tell it to men dead in the mud or floating in the sea
but for Christ’s sake don’t try and tell that to me.

Ships sunk; aircraft down; men missing, believed dead
good viewing on the nightly news before the nation goes to bed.
But our news was relief at another day seen through
and hope that the coming night’s fears were survivable, too.

“Hit the deck, hit the deck” is the loudspeaker’s awful call
as we scramble from sleep to the “Action Stations” alarm thrall.
Snapshots of one’s life flash past –
grab a breath and wonder if it could be the last.

“You survived, you came home” the disbelieving voices cried,
“what of the real heroes who did not return, those who died?”
“True” my friends, “no scars to show and our faces are unlined;
but, oh, if only you could feel the wounds gaping in our minds”.

“Would you fight again?” ask the silent whispers of the night,
As I try to forget the apocalyptic visions which are a blight
on my peace. Yes, oh yes, when others of my blood have lost
their freedom, their way of life; and not to count the cost.

War-broken bodies were healed, returned to a normality:
ravaged pysches festered unseen in their distorted reality.
Two hundred and fifty-five men did not return victorious from this war;
almost thirty years on, and lonely suicides have doubled that score.

Nicholas Lutwyche

PTSD

Decades later, there are days when it is forgotten,
until some flickering image or incoherent sound
commands an unwanted replay of the old news,
recreating those images of family flashing past
preceding playback of combat that destroys my peace.

Then, violent shadows of lonely death haunt me.
The winged missiles that seek out ships,
bring the rage of fire, flood and smoke -
backdrop for the cries of wounded men,
and the quiet of sudden death.

The silvery screening of those tiny airplanes, searching
for my ship, my fellow seafarers, transfixes me.
Sweat glistens, body hair stands up, I'm holding my breath.
Honey, she says, leaning across the settee,
Come back, talk to me – please.
So many years on,
and my silent, lost comrades will not let me speak.

Nicholas Lutwyche

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Relativity

It looks old, suddenly,
slack-skinned and veins raised –
the back of his hand
which rests on the sleek fur
of the sleeping cat.

She purrs, curled upon his legs,
the surety of youth runs in her veins,
blue eyes not clouded by cataracts;
while he sits in the silver, flickering light.

He will have to put her away
one day, and lose another friend;
grieve for her companionship
after her nine short lives disappear,
speeding past his reluctant years.

It is all so temporary, this life.
Grief, happiness, pain and delight
drift through our senses as
autumn mists mingling with
turning leaves on tall trees.

Folded carefully on military coffins
other colors reflect a different fall.
The old hand trembles in a last salute
and returns gently to rest with the cat;
feline peace calming an uneasy mind.

Nicholas Lutwyche

Fallen

It seems as though there are more leaves
than I remember gathering a year ago.
Perhaps the old rake has shrunk in the rain
or memory, more often of late, has faltered.

Each new Autumnal crop spreads further
and my aching back feels weaker.

To live in the serenity of trees
requires, after all, some sacrifice
but not as great as that made by those
whose war-graves lie among these leaves

Nicholas Lutwyche

Will You Remember?

The final re-union will be here
soon enough;
all those long tables set
with candelabra and gleaming plates.
The chairs empty; silent and untended.

No more cold Remembrance Day parades
in gray November rain, with
mournful bugles calling across lowered flags
for those now beyond the common sight……

beyond the heart-clenching reach
of “Action Stations” alarms;
the sea ghosts have slipped their anchor chains,
dissolving down channel
into the mists of final peace.

Discarded lies the paraphernalia of war,
the rituals; the anniversaries afterwards
dwindle into obscurity and neglect
with the passing of the last, lonely souls.

Nicholas Lutwyche

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Deconstruction by Lisa Lutwyche

In 2011 HMS Invincible, icon of the Falklands War, was towed from Portsmouth for scrap.

In our house is a painting of the ship that battled
crashing oceans and floated my husband to his War.
Tiny men line the decks at attention, in full dress,
ready for the welcome of Queen and Country.
My husband is one of them.

In the painting the great ship is greeted
with all the fanfare a victorious warrior deserves.
Rust streams down her hull like blood from wounds.
I can hear military bands and the cheers of crowds.
Though I didn’t know him yet.

In England we gathered in our finest clothes.
We attended a somber ceremony that relieved her of her duty.
That dusk the bugle stirred even my civilian heart.
British men struggled for composure, another battle
to withstand, but we women wept.

A knighted admiral, the man who brought them
“there and back” squared his shoulders, stiff and poised.
What surged through him as he saluted his men
and his most significant, beloved ship
that final time?

Today my husband shows me a photograph.
The proud ship, her shapely hull still discernible,
stands mute, in a shipyard, surrounded by cranes.
It looks like her assembly, but it is her undoing, her dismantling,
her deconstruction.

I know where his berth was, now exposed.
There are the corridors that haunt his dreams,
where alarms sounded, danger was announced, and death waited.
They gape now, emptied arteries,
open to the sea.

We have an understanding, his ship and his wife.
Displayed in our American home, I pass her every day.
I know they are locked in an unending embrace.
She is his beloved and his nemesis, sometimes an unwitting
partner to another deconstruction. His.

Lisa S Lutwyche        More about Lisa Lutwyche

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Poetry, mainly about his 1982 Falklands War experiences,
by British Soldier James Love

James Love trained as a paratrooper and served in Germany, the Falklands and the French Foreign Legion. Most of his poems are about his Falklands Experience.
This is his story.
I was born in Glasgow on the 31 of March in the year 1955. I joined the Army after a brief spell in the City of Glasgow Police. I volunteered for Parachute training in February of 1974. After passing P Company and completing my jump training, I joined 'I' Parachute Battery, Bull's Troop, 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. In 1979 I disappeared whilst in BAOR, Germany and joined the French Foreign Legion where I made the rank of Corporal. Unfortunately, the pay and conditions were not the greatest and I decided to "leave" and rejoin the British Army. After getting out of France, I hitch-hiked back to Osnabruck in West Germany where my unit was now stationed - walking the last 80 kilometres in a blizzard.
After being tried by Court-Martial (under Section 38 of the Army Act 1955) I served 7 months and 11 days (6 weeks of it in solitary) having earned 3 months and 4 days remission of sentence for good behaviour. I returned to Aldershot and joined the Parachute contingent of 4th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and was attached initially to B Company of the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment as a member of the Forward Observation Party (as a signaller directing artillery fire).
I was then transferred to A Company whilst on top of Sussex Mountains in the Falkland Islands in May 1982. I served on attachment to A Company until June 1982 when we returned to the Battery (29 Corunna 4th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery) and 2 Para sailed home to the UK on the "Norland". We flew out some weeks later after being roped-in to guard Galtierri and the rest of the prisoners on the "St Edmund" ferry.
I bought myself out of the Army in 1991 for £200 and am now employed by the Ministry of Defence Police Guarding Agency working at the Royal School of Artillery in Wiltshire - just up the road from Stonehenge.
I have been writing short stories and poetry for years...therapy? Who knows? Not me!!! I have posted in various web sites before - here are two. http://www.postpoems.com/members/giajl/
http://britains-smallwars.com/Jim-Love/intro.htm

Poems by James Love


What I miss most
 
I miss the lads.
I miss those crisp clear nights,
when the frost glistens in the moonlight.
I miss those lonely exposed hills,
lashed by the rain.
I miss the young and innocent faces,
some of whom we’ll never see again.
I miss the laughter and the crack.
I miss their morbid humour,
the childish pranks and unspoken laws.
I miss the sense of belonging,
that unique bond.
I miss youth at it’s best,
though I’ll grow old, unlike the rest.
 
What I miss most ?
I miss the lads.
 
James Love
 

Author's comments on "What I miss most"
I miss the one's that died. I also miss the guys I served in the army with. Some of whom are still alive.
 
 
May 82

May 82
It rained,
and I heard it fall.
Maybe not every drop,
but almost all.

We cut the turf.
And stacked it high.
Two foot thick
and just as wide.

Rain ran down my face
while it filled the hole.
Soaked my clothes.
Washed my soul.

No gentle pitter-patter this,
it crashed.
The wind howled, and blew.
Bayonets slashed.

And all the while,
eight thousand miles away,
you cheered, got drunk, and slept,
in a cosy warm bed.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "MAY 82"
People watched from the comfort of their living rooms. Unless you were actually there, or actually experienced war. You'll never really know.
 

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One More

They’d got another one last night.
He’s given up the ghost,
He’d given up the fight.
They found him early this morn.
The gaunt and haunted look upon his face. . .
The rope lay wound around the small and twisted form.
No bullet holes or shrapnel wounds,
No blood, no snot, no gore.
Just another casualty
Of a long forgotten war.
James Love
 
Author's Comments on "One More"
Several young men in their late twenties suffering from PTSD. Committed suicide prior to parades on the 11 of November 2000.Theirs is an untold chapter in a forgotten war, within the mind.
 
PTSD

I can’t go to bed,
Cause the things in my head,
Make it hard to fall asleep.

It’s like it happened today,
and it won’t go away.
Don’t ask me to try counting sheep.

It’s a part of the past,
They say the memories won’t last.
Time's a great healer.

When you’re lying in bed,
They can get in your head,
But only if you go to sleep.
 
James Love
 
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Author's Comments on "PTSD"
Some people can close their eyes and get instant wide screen. Unfortunately everybody deals with it differently.
 
Baby’s got Blue Eyes

He removed her fears,
and wiped away the tears,
as she cuddled and hung on to his neck.

The smile on her face,
matched the glow in his heart.
And he realised how lucky he was.

No one can say,
’twere ever a day,
where he’d never paused for thought.

The thunder rolls,
the rain lashes down,
all the while the dead lie asleep in their beds.

My turn’s been.
There’s some sights I’ve seen,
of which I’ll never talk.

The breathing’s shallow,
while she clutches on tight,
to her green one-eyed teddy.

He can still hear them roar,
as he closes the door,
and switches out the light.

James Love
 
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Author's Comments on "Baby’s got Blue Eyes"
All three of my babies have blue eyes, my wife, my daughter and lastly my son. This was written for my daughter.
 
The Thirty Yard Dash

If he makes thirty yards
I’ll get up and go.
Up and running
Jigging to and fro.

If he makes forty yards
I’ll get up and go.
Is it your fear,
That seems to make him run so slow?

Go boy! Go!
If he makes another ten yards.
I’ll get up and go.
Run boy, go! go! go!

Then you’re there.
You’re up and running.
If I make thirty yards.
Laughing as I go!

You move so slow.
If I make thirty yards.
And if I don’t,
Will I ever Know?

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "The Thirty Yard Dash"
I was that soldier. Coronation Point Falkland Islands 1982. Machine gunner's from hidden trenches opened up on us. It happened like it says in the poem.
 
Warm Dusky Nights

On warm dusky nights,
where now only the weeds stand guard
watched over by the same moon and stars
men once fought and died.

On ground scorched by fire,
grass now grows,
while in the silent moonlit nights
misty grey figures rise, ready for battle
carrying on a war long ended.

No rattling gun or scream of shells,
no cries from wounded or the dying.
The fit have gone home now.
The dead lie where they've fallen.

James Love
 

First Light
 
It’s dark, but not quite,
It’s almost day, but not quite.
Half haze, grey gloom, but not quite.
Not red, not green, not black, not white.
Almost day, almost, but not quite.
When you differentiate between colours.
You’ve got first light.
 
James Love
 
 
The Dying Man

Cold.
Afraid and alone.
Lost in the blankets of darkness.
Life slowly seeps from the wounds.

Where now were my comrades?
Who would now comfort me?
I see my mother’s face
Smell her sweet fragrance.

Her tender embrace,
Brings brief warmth.
But not for my body
Only my soul.

My life is nearly over
Before it has scant begun.
My hopes and aspirations
Ended on this dammed hill.

(May 82.)
James Love
 
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Lament of the Dead

What if I should die before the dawn?
And if I should die before the dawn,
What news ho, of me in England?
How cry you now?
Oh, men of mice!
Safe last night you slept.
’T was the wind of war,
That kept me awake.
How say you now, friend?
Did we win?

That some sad price was paid
For the laughter of today
That they should not forget.
But never know
The ignominy
Of death
While in their moments of play.
Brave men died
Tho’ thousands of miles away.
The same sun shone on both.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Lament of the Dead."
When I know what it means. I won't be able to post a comment. I'll probably be dead.
Until you have had the ground beneath your feet disappear.
Seen the sky turn black
and shower you with molten metal fragments.
You'll never know how precious the morning can be
for men at war.
I pray you never have to share the moment.
James Love
 
Left a Bit and Left a Bit

Left a bit
and left a bit
and left a little more.
Now add a bit
and add a little more.
The arc’s not high, as you watch it fly.
Though the chattering rattle, amidst all the battle,
causes your ears to roar.
One belt down, fifty rounds, tracer one in four.
Now left a bit
and left a bit . . .

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Left a Bit and Left a Bit"
I got a hard time because I didn't have any link for the machine guns. But I had a set of laser bino's. So spotted for them.

Je Touche Moi

Death passed me by,
but he touched my soul.

While his scythe of fiery lead,
cut a swathe through the pre-morn light.

Bony fingers plucked holes in mortal flesh.,
To quench the reaper’s thirst.

He passed me by,
This time.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Je Touche Moi"
Crossing Coronation Point an enemy machine gunner seemed to have a personal vendetta against me. Fortunately he missed.

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Fitzroy

Low and fast,
That’s how they came.
Screaming low across the ground.
I swear.
If I’d tried
I could have touched it, as it passed.

A trail of death and devastation,
They’d left behind.
Where the rising black plumes of smoke,
Lay testament to that.
The dead, the maimed,
Trapped on a floating inferno.

In that brief moment.
Fathers, sons and brothers, Died.
The lucky ones that lived.
Bleeding, burnt and scarred, shocked.

Not now, the men I once knew.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Fitzroy"
I can always visualise the grinning SkyHawk pilot as he passed.
 
Adrenaline

Tracer lit the night
while the screams of the dying
were drowned out
by the exploding shells.

No longer cold or wet
no thoughts of hunger.
Just a surge, a rush
the body’d come alive.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Adrenaline". It is said that war is made with long periods of boredom interspersed with frantic bursts of activity. It is.
 
Forget Me Not

As you stare into the eyes,
Of the man you call your friend.
To speak the words,
You both know to be a lie.
You find no fear.
Maybe perhaps,
A simple resignation.
Pre-ordained this moment.
’T is Kismet.
A disciplined death.
A soldier’s fate

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Forget Me Not"
You take turns to draw the enemy's fire. Skill still needs help at times from "lady luck".
 
Did I hear a soul fall?

Did I hear a soul fall?
With that, his last breath.

Is it a wistful smile?
Or have the muscles just relaxed?

His grip is still firm enough,
Where he grabbed my arm.

No cinematic deaths here,
Just harsh cold reality.

Who will hold me?
When I fall.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "Did I hear a soul fall?"
Death to those who don't expect it, or have a fear, can be a messy time in their life. For those of us who know different, its just life's way of telling you it's over, as the bowels empty for the last time, and you shit yourself.

The Survivors

You feel bad, so you have a little drink .
Another makes you feel better.
Several more makes you feel great.
The devil’s the barman
Hell’s today, purgatory’s tomorrow
Grey steel, black nights
The stars remain the same.
Eight thousand miles away,
They lie in their beds.
Dreams forgotten, ambition’s
unfulfilled.
Integrity, honour, and freedom -
Politician’s words,
For a soldier’s trade is
Death.

James Love
 
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When I Go

Place me not beneath mother earth’s soil,
Dig no more trenches for me,
Entomb me not behind some brass plate,
For time to tarnish and neglect.

I still feel the cold winds of the south,
That makes my body ache, yes even now.
So roast my bones quickly,
Let the flames purge my soul.

Scatter my ashes high on a hill,
Like my father before me.
Let the Scottish wind take my earthly remnants,
As I return one last time.

To the land of my birth.

James Love
 
Author's Comments on "WHEN I GO"
Use my donor's card, dispose of the packaging sensibly.
 
Do You Miss the Night


Do you miss the night ?
When it’s cold, wet, and windy.
Drink more than your share!
Do you miss the night?
From the corner of your eye,
You search for the guy
Who’s just not there!
So you buy yourself a dog.
Do you miss the night ?

James Love
 
I used to take my dog for long walks at night. The darkness is sometimes everybody's friend. Dogs don't talk back.

The British Empire

Truly
Brave men died here today.
Did the swaying grass bring forth your tears?
Will this land which touched,
Nay claimed your soul.
Stay serene forever, and remain theirs now?
Or will man’s greed once more
Bring forth the havoc that is war.
To find our children
Or God forbid our children’s children.
So they too, will one day lay
Beneath that foreign soil
That we now call the Empire!

James Love

The Road To "KANDAHAR"

You, with your neat picket fence
And freshly mown lawn.
Where only the occasional daisy
Pokes through.

Sedately content
You survey your domain.

While I, ignored by the passing thrall
I sit on this dusty plain
My withered limbs
Say it all

Too sick to move
I await Kismet.

As far as the eye can see
Caught in the dying sun’s rays
The glint and glitter
Of the death that surrounds me

Thousands of miles away
You decide my fate.

’T is not gold that’s a lying
But the brass casing’s
Left in pitiful piles
From the lead that’s been flying

Too scared to close my eyes
Should I not wake.

The sky fills with death
While the ground trembles
No trace they’ll find
Of my insignificant bones

Ramadan’s done
‘Tis the time of Christ.

All this
While you reach for your morning coffee.
As I lay dying
On the road to Kandahar.

James Love

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Jihad

What say you Knight Templar?
Does this war bring forth forgotten memories?
Does that dammed sand, still fly?
Bite and infest the cup?
Centuries have passed,
Though, the cause is still the same?

That flag that with cross and colour,
That flew night and day.
This now has the heavens stars transposed,
Though this day and the morrow,
We fight for no Pope of Rome.
Be this no Crusade.

The principles of man,
Have lapsed,
Though time irrespective.
Their greed remains.
Oil enough now,
Though none now clear enough to anoint.

James Love
 
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Poems copyright © 2004 James Love.




Poems by  Cesca M. Croft


 
This is what I saw when the men came back from the Falklands . . .

They say that time is a healer
Time numbs the mind,
blanks out the memories.
But then you hear the fireworks
and in the dark of the night
you can still die ~ of fright.
Just the sound ~ of the bangs ~ all around
like guns, triggers the memory,
the fear, the cold sweats,
of being fired at ~
Up in the sky, over the sea,
no self defence, in foreign territory ~
The crew is gripped with fear,
nerves in shreds, mouth deadly dry ~
We could be dead soon,
we could plunge to the icy sea,
disappear under the Atlantic,
never to be found again.
"Lost at sea"
R.I.P.
Back home again
for a week or two ~
We're at a party
It's so unreal
I curl up in a corner,
head in hands.
I can be me again
the real Me,
the husband, the father,
the neighbour.
This is Me.
Now I can cry ...
gentle arms hold me close.
What I have seen
won't go away.
It's still here, 20 years on,
and every firework
that you casually let off
proves that time
is not a healer.

Cesca M Croft

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There was evil in Rwanda and Iraq, and many other similar occurrences after Hitler and the Nazis in the 20th century. When will humankind ever learn?
Hence the following, not well written :


1947 Lottery of Birth
Doctor Josef escaped the Nazis
Escaped to Outer London.
After the War
A knock on her door:
"Please come
Please help."
Someone asking me
Someone calling me Doctor -
"Your name, Sir, your name ....
Ah but that is German ..."
"Yes, yes, but from long ago,
Two centuries ago !!
It is just our name -"
"So, you too are victims.
How cruel was this war."
"English doctors will not help -
My baby daughter, new born,
Will bleed to death -
Please come."
"Come, let us go -
On our bikes !
I have the Vitamin K.
Your baby's life
We will now save."
And she did. They did.
Thank you Dr Josef.
So I became my father's
Second daughter.
 
Cesca M Croft
26 January 2005

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Poems by Tony McNally

Poetry, mainly about his 1982 Falklands War experiences, Northern Ireland and the trauma he suffered. Tony's introduction gives an insight into what he experienced and how it affected him.
 
A little about me - Tony McNally, Cloudpuncher
Tony McNally was born in Barrow-in-Furness, England, and has spent most of his life living on the fringe of the beautiful Lake District. As a young lad growing up he always dreamed of being a soldier, joining the army cadets as soon as he was old enough. This led on the joining the Royal Artillery at the age of 16, when the playing stopped and the real soldiering began. `Cloudpuncher` (an army nickname for Rapier missile operators) follows Tony through his training, his time in Germany and his growing up from a `spotty teenager to a young soldier and `man of the world`
In 1982, still only 19, he is sent of the war with `Maggie's Army` to the Falkland Islands to man the Rapier missile units defending the troops and the landings. After early initial success, and euphoria of shooting down two enemy aircraft, he was to witness the carnage of the destruction of the `Sir Galahad. `His Rapier missile unit 32 alpha on the hillside overlooking the sound, was useless disabled with a minor electrical fault he sat there `as though at the cinema` watching the tragedy unfold in front of him, helpless to do anything. This sight was to come back to haunt him again and again images of the dead and the badly burned bodies of the guardsmen lying around the shore and in the water.
After the eventual victory he was to witness the clearing up, the bodies, the desecration, the utter inhumanity of war.
He returned home to a hero's welcome, but he did not feel like a hero. After all the training and the action of war, the return to utter boredom of routine, drill, spit and polish, drove him to leave the army and go back to `civvy life.` home in Furness he could only find mundane employment in a factory and the boredom of `civvy life,` gradually turned his attention to the exciting prospect of becoming a mercenary. He applied for a job, advertising in `Soldier of fortune`, with a Vietnam veteran operating in Africa. After a short Mediterranean holiday he came back to find his face plastered all over the National newspapers branding him a `mercenary. `After less than three years he enlisted again and this time was sent to Northern Ireland. there he was to see another kind of horror and war the hatred of man for his fellow man. In the Falklands the Argentine enemy were like him soldiers doing a job for their country.
But in Northern Ireland, there were fellow British people trying to kill him! Every smile could hide a bomb. Even children were unwittingly involved in traps laid for unwary soldiers. If it wasn't bullets and bombs it was fridges and unmentionables dropped from the balconies of flats. The dehumanizing experiences there were to affect him deeply. After five years he left the army for good and returned home, again to a `dead - end` job as a security guard. But now the `traumas` , nightmares and hallucinations, started to seriously affect his life. His marriage was suffering and his wife feared actual harm. He sought help and was eventually diagnosed by a civilian doctor as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition the British army refused to accept existed.
`Cloudpuncher` follows Tony through his eventful at times shocking army career and then through the struggle to recover his `self` and rebuild his life and, ultimately, to find contentment and fulfilment.


Annabelle
How fortunate a man I am to smell
The newborn scent of my baby Annabelle
She gives me unconditional love
Her proof life must go on
Heaven bound white dove
I pray thanks dear Lord I survived my war
In 1982 some never reached the shore
She has stopped me from taking the easy way out
That sweet smell of innocence
There is no doubt
How fortunate a man I am to tell
This is my daughter, my Annabelle.

Tony McNally
 
Angels' Wings
Such a feeling of happiness I have never felt
Tears of pure joy so warm so loving
My Mother welcomes me, I can smell her scent
Rising up above the battlefield
My comrades smile
My enemies smile
Flying home on the wings of Angels.

© Tony McNally 
 
Cleanse me
Wash away my hatred and black pain
Cleanse my soul of this earthly madness
Creator if you have created why?
Some sort of sick joke?
Death? Oh how a comfort it becomes
To love to hate to Kill
You have had your fill.
I bow at the feet of What?
Its comical even though it hurts
When all sense and reason become nothing more than an electric spark
To ignite another bout of angst
Rain lash these eyes that have laughed at the unfortunate
Ridiculed the weak.
Is this my punishment?
Cleanse me let me sleep.
© Tony McNally

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Men Who Sit On Chairs
Men who sit on chairs send us to war
They tell us how to fight
They add up the score
Men who sit on chairs send us back home
Minus one or two or three or four or more
Men who sit on Chairs send letters to the bereaved
They tell of the heroism of what they have achieved
Men who sit on chairs sleep soundly in their beds
Unlike the men in psyche wards being force fed on their meds.
© Tony McNally
 
PTSD
I'm happy and sad
Compassionate and bad
Can't sleep at night
Can't do anything right
I wanna be alone
But not on my own
I'm in love but I hate
I'm a burden on the state
I'm possessed by the war
I killed what for?
I see shrinks
I see docs
Remember my arctic socks
I'm disloyal cause I'm ill
Is it right to kill?
I can hide in a crowd
My face a grey shroud
I cry for no reason
My country shouts treason
All the pills and the booze
Make bad memories ooze
I was 19 in June
Under a bright crystal moon
I died that day
But I'm still here to say
For the brave and the free.
My award - PTSD.

© Tony McNally
 
Why do they look at me that way?
Why do they look at me that way?
"He's not all there", I've heard them say
Leave me alone you faceless folk
To fight in war it aint no joke
I've lost my wife my job my friends
Was it all worth it? That all depends
I don't know why I feel this way
I took my oath
I did obey
I killed because I was scared to die
By blowing those Sky hawks from the sky
Those retard bombs they drove us mad
They sent us on the Galahad
The screams of the dying, twisted metal shards
A floating burning hell of dead Welsh Guards
I did not cry for them that day
Why do they look at me that way?
My brain recorded events for me
I seem to torture myself with glee
In the capital Stanley we drank ourselves sober
The Sergeant Major said "The party is over."
They sent us back to our home shore
Amongst our families we were still fighting our own war
It's nearly twenty years since we won the day
Those painful memories just wont go away
I love my Country and my brothers in arms
On November the 11th I'll sing hymns and psalms
I will wear my medals with pride on that day
The only day of the year they don't look at me that way.
© Tony McNally
 
Human waste
A murder of crows lands by the landfill site
I know the meaning of life
Smiling I feel slightly foolish
"What’s your problem?" I giggle to a crow
Energised beyond belief
Adrenaline surge
The 9mm Browning feels cold to touch
Staring at the hand I wonder if it knows how to use it
The knuckles are hairy
White mark totally gone from the wedding finger
I’m now in love with something beyond the boundaries of this world
Don’t fuck with the safety you idiot
Ha Ha Ha
Keep the weapon pointed down the range
Or inside your mouth
One of the crows looks my way
Can he see my gun?
Do crows ever commit suicide?
You're all collectively repulsive to me
I am part of the bacteria of human filth
But I’m happy truly happy for the first time in my life.
© Tony McNally
 
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A wee dram
The young man listened in awe to the old soldier
Malt whiskey oiled the heroic deeds of the Grenadier
The same eyes that once looked for the enemy on a bloody battlefield
Now glinted from the log fires embers
Long still pauses
Deep breaths
Shaking hands
A drip of whiskey hits the carpet
Oh we were young
So very young
All dead
"Bugger Queen & Country son"
As the Grenadier smashed the whiskey glass into the flames.
© Tony McNally
 
The carrion crow
The carrion crow is bursting
Thanks to the young men from Lancashire
Gangrenous innards adorning the French valley
Mrs Utterbridge at home in Blighty is hungry
But the carrion crow is sated
Her boy Alec 16 years old went to change the world
Beauty and innocence violently raped into the mud
By a German shell made in Berlin
The maker Mrs Shultz is hungry
Her boy Anton isn't
He isn't anything anymore
But the carrion crow is replete
Eating Alec's feet.
© Tony McNally
 
It's not about Oil?
Roll up boys and girls
Come take the Queen's shilling
Iraq's better than the dole
The scenery is thrilling
This is no Crusade
Has nothing to do with Bush
Move along, sit down
No need to crush
How old are you son?
17 good lad
You can't vote for Blair
But your Parents will be glad
That you're in good hands
Your career we will further
But if you actually fire that rifle
We may charge you with murder.
© Tony McNally

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My friend the dark
`My friend the dark?`
Misty droplets of rain settle on my face like a wet mask
Slightly to the side of the grave- like trench I lie
Waiting for her to come, my friend the dark
Concentrating on the misty ground my rifle moves slightly up and down.
As my heartbeats slower my breath could compromise me?
I slowly move my toes inside my boots, fear not to make the leather creak
My guardian angel here now to watch over me
My friend the dark.
When I was but an infant the dark made me scared
Now she is my ally in this game of death
I feel a twinge in my bladder but ignore it
To die with a full bladder would it matter?
I hear a metallic click please let it be my relief
Or could it be someone else
With his friend the dark?
© Tony McNally
 
Violence
Heart beating magazines full adrenaline rush almost ecstatic
Not alone my brothers here, no fear no fear
Silence attacks my ears
Nervous clicking of the safety catches
Glancing to my left Smith smiles nervously thumbs up
To my left Taffy spits and wipes his brow
I’m in good company , the company of men
My mates. my pisshead nut cases
Dance Of The Flaming Arse'oles
Zulu Warriors
The sons Of Britain
Fix Bayonets
Let's fucking do 'em!
© Tony McNally
 
War creates Whores
My wife doesn't love me anymore
But she lied often enough
She's had a go at happy families
My she's had it rough
She has lots of family and friends
I have nobody
Love is a bad thing we all crave
I'll blame the war.
War creates whores.
Those bastard foreign shores.
© Tony McNally
See more of Tony McNally's poetry at http://www.postpoems.com/members/mack619/

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Nicholas Lutwyche

Grew up on a farm in N.W Surrey (UK), tinkered with old motorcycles and joined the Royal Navy soon after my 18th birthday. Luckily the Fleet Air arm was expanding. I might have been a chef or something else.

Completed basic and field training and an air-engineering apprenticeship. Was in a Singapore based Frigate at the end of the Indonesia confrontation and in Hong Kong when some communist agitators were lobbing hand grenades around. The most danger that I faced prior to the Falklands War in 1982 (Apart from a predilection for riding motorcycles and drinking beer) was as a young Petty Officer in charge of the ship's Shore Patrol in Hong Kong one night. There were ships from  Australia and New Zealand in Hong Kong and there was a small scale riot in the China Fleet Club as the two Navies fought each other. It seems to happen always whenever the Aussie and Kiwi Navies  get to the same Port at the same time. The frantic Fleet Club manager implored me to put a stop to the melee. I looked at my puny night-stick and the two young sailors with me, and at the at least 50 inebriated matelots in a scene from a John Wayne western movie bar-brawl but with no piano being played, and declined the offer to get involved! The Hong Kong police turned up in force a few minutes later and set about the miscreants in  no short order.

Fast forward about 15 years and as a somewhat apprehensive FCPO (since renamed W.O) aboard HMS Invincible, found myself leaving Pompey heading SW for about 8000 miles. The rest, as they say, is history.

Retired from the R.N in 1986 and joined the MOD(PE) Quality Assurance organisation in the Sea Wolf missile Project team; then DGA(N) in the Sea King helicopter office; a short stay at AAEE Boscombe Down in RWTS and then off to Philadelphia, USA to join the Chinook project team for a 3 year contract that was eventually completed after 7 and a half years!

Retired from the Civil Service; stayed in the USA, found myself divorced and in another relationship; married again as Homeland Security, a new organisation then, entrusted with the Immigration Dept, homed-in on my rapidly expiring visa. Had a variety of low-paid jobs as a lowly green-card  holder (Not allowed near anything related to aviation as a non-U.S citizen after 9/11) and after a few years completed the bureaucratic marathon to US citizenship.

Been happily remarried for almost a decade now; raised two American teenage step-children with varying degrees of success (that was interesting!) and now have some part time jobs inspecting aviation parts at various suppliers.

Reflections on the Falklands war?

I thought that I came home from it unscathed. At that time my home was in a small Dorset village; the village primary school had sent me lettters, but to my horror I found myself as the guest of honour at a surprise party that the village had organised secretly to welcome home its hero. I did not consider myself to be in the least heroic; that designation was for those who either did not return or were wounded in action. But I could not disappoint the good folk who had arranged the festivities, and went along with it all, feeling like a fraud but hiding it. It ws a good party and quite a number of the locals got blitzed that night. 

I learned later that the feelings that I experienced are known as "survivors guilt". 

-   Nicholas Lutwyche, 21 November 2011


More about Lisa Lutwyche

Lisa S. Lutwyche has been a published poet since she was seventeen, publishing in Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and in the United Kingdom; nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2000.  She has taught creative writing and watercolour since 1992 at night, at community arts centres and elder care facilities.  She has taught in the fine and performing arts department, as adjunct faculty, at Cecil College in Maryland since early 2008.  Lisa also teaches creative writing to home-schooled pre-teens. 

Lisa has a BFA in painting, a BA in Art History, and spent 28 years in corporate and residential architecture and design.  A poet, novelist, essayist and playwright, she is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing through a low residency program at Goddard College in Vermont.  Lisa met her British husband through a creative writing class she was teaching.

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