Written on September 3rd. 1989 the 50th. Anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.


Recalled from a meeting with a war widow at her home in Chichester, West Sussex, England about 1955. She was crying when she opened the door to me; cried for the two hours that I spent with her and wept loudly amid her apologies as I took leave of her.




I’ll cry you my sad song of men who were ‘called up’ for war and never returned. There was George, who flew his Spitfire and fought valiantly during the Battle of Britain and vapor trailed the skies. Finally, belly-flopping in a fiery-crash on the aerodrome runway. And, Joe, the Air Raid Warden who jumped from the rooftop to escape the bombed block blaze, only to be impaled on the spiked iron fence, left by the scrap metals for guns speculators. And, Fred, who charged forward on the ‘Italian Front’, over the top yelling to silence the machine gun emplacement, expiring in a hail of bullets as he dropped his successful hand-grenade inside the concrete bunker. And, John, who picked up stinking bodies and pieces of some, behind the lines, shuffling not walking along in the slimy mud and exploded shell holes: not talking to his mate at the rear of the stretcher. Stopping now and them to collect other soldier’s personal possessions: photographs, wallets, watches, letters of love, endearment, home and support. Then, he stepped upon a land mine. And, Jesse, who stoked that worn out First World War destroyer; east and west across the Atlantic Ocean throughout the war: torpedoed, bombed: chased and pursuer. He was oily and sweaty for four long years. Hearing nothing but the scary whistle and bang of explosives in perpetual twilight, until the war ended: then; whilst celebrating victory V.E. Day in the twilight of a La Linea brothel, he was stabbed to death.


She said:

“Alone, I cry, I cry, I cry: I weep all awaken day and night. For  more than ten long years since the end of the Second World War, I have wept daily. My past tears would fill an ocean and my future tears will flood Heaven.

Because, you see, George was my beloved husband and the others were my handsome young sons.”