Forced Into Death Part II


The brave cowards,

Loyal deserters,

And the wide awake men

Who slept on their watch.

All lined up,

All stood still,

All the same,

All with the will

Of mercy,



But they were lost.




Blindfolded at dawn.



Never to see another morn.



The gun was primed,

A pause,


Before the funeral bells chimed.


The friend turned,

The master became evil,

The leader was an enemy

But then again, still,

It’s just a job,

A mere shot,

A mere shot,

Whether directed at an enemy or not.

By Nicholas Mackay

Forced Into Death Part I


A man who lived

A life so free

Was forced to join


They said there was

A rightful cause

The others were

Just breaking laws


But there were two of them fighting,

Both taken up, both unwilling

Both afraid of the threat filling

Their hearts, their heads, their lives.


The threat, the danger

Came not just from the stranger,

But from the friend,

Who was supposed to protect

From the danger so bleak,

To calm, to speak,

To him, to help him

To be his friend,

His ally,

This person killed him but he was not

A spy.


There were many causes,

Many reasons,

Many excuses

For the executions


The forced fled,

The conscripted, counted their remaining days,

Before coming,

To the conclusion,

That war,

Was an illusion,

War was not worth the death of,

A soul,

A human,

Theirs or their enemy’s.


Sense was seen as betrayal,

Cunning as disloyalty,

They were running from death

To death

By Nicholas Mackay

My Little Boy

I’m teary now recalling the time

my son went off to the hateful front line

his jacket and boots in hand

he went to fight the German band,

of soldiers that were the same as him

in the same place, with the chocolate tin

a friend, wife or children’s gift

exactly the same as my poor kid


But are they the same? I highly doubt it

Thought of as “the boche” “there’s nothing cruel about it”!

But there is that harshness in their voice

as they go over the top shouting “let’s kill ’em boys”


The harsh reality of the war

seen by us at home as a trivial thing

but out there in Ypres they have wet socks to wring

At home we use it as an advertising slogan

but there they hear “missing in action”


I dream every night of that fatal day

When I receive that letter that will say

“If you are reading this I’m dead”

The words ring eternally in my head

It wrenches my organs up inside

I wish my son would never die


But this is the same for both boche and us

the world is unfair, destroys your trust,

in the leaders and officers that lead our boys

but shoot them if they don’t want to suffer the noise

that they hear each day

but they shouldn’t pay

for protecting our nation from enemies

who’s aggression was caused by a little sneeze

of misjudgement and a silly blank cheque

and transformed into four years of life-changing wreck


Alone, alone, so alone

My son travelled with friends to the battlefield

So young yet so old

so innocent yet so wise

so naive yet so… so…


Too young to die he was

“Missing in action” they said that day

The very thing that I was most afraid of

You can only imagine how I felt

The “knock, knock” on the door

You have no idea what it meant

I lifelessly dropped to the floor

As they said

“Your son is dead”


I will never forget those two days

The three and a half years imbetween are just blurs

Like black spots on a page

Lost in time like my son

I watched as his name was engraved on the memorial in town

Each stroke was etched on my heart

And it will be forever

Even until I die after my own little boy.


By Nathan Baker, Barnard Castle School

The Spirit of War

The Spirit of War

 Issued to another man, I prepared to relive the cycle of the battlefield. For days on end, I clung to the soldier, trembling and waiting in the trenches. The sense of fear descended on the soldiers, soaking me with broken emotions. Down the line, I saw more men, reflections of the ongoing horrors. Each, armed like clones. An anonymous army.

 I was drowning. Suffocated by the stench of war. The invasive, toxic, unending smell of the battlefield. The sites couldn’t be considered better. Screaming, howling cries of enraged fighters. I harboured more than my soldier. I had to come home to many more than just men. Infected by thousands of lice, fighting my own little war.

 Day through night, the Sun spectated be hellish sights on earth. Time called by, it seemed an eternity. The painful cries of the soldiers, comparable only to the Damned souls in hell.

 Then in a single second, it changed. My soldier. My fighter. He felt lifeless from the wall. His grip reduced to nothing. A bullet past through the both of us. Blood stream from his shoulder as he fell. He had lost his war. It was time for someone to replace him.

 Another spirit of war.

   By Michael Liu