29 November 2008


A thin wish that something might turn up?
A vague feeling that it may be all right in the end?

A baby who will change the world.
A man raised from the dead.

The eager expectation of things that are certain.
Knowing that, come what may, all shall be well.

An inner resilience.
An anchor in Heaven.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

16 November 2008


I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To face the foe and try to kill
A man I’ve never met before
Who never yet has done me ill,
Whose only crime was done at birth:
Born in the wrong part of God’s Earth.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To feed on rats, and lice sustain,
And scrape my flesh until it’s raw;
My guts of dysentery to drain;
To fear the crump of falling shells
And live in dread of man-made hells.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
Sent out against the enemy
By orders that are likely more
To be my end, to finish me:
To charge through mud with laboured breath,
Weighed down to stop me dodging death.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To know the love of comrades dear
Who, borne on by esprit de corps,
Would give their lives to end my fear,
Or sing to lift my spirits high
When terrors brought the Reaper nigh.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To watch my comrade’s final breath
Come bubbling through his blood-stained jaw;
To hear his pleading words at death
His mother call his hand to take
And lead him home, for Mercy’s sake.

I’m glad I’ve never been to war,
To see my friend, robbed of his sense,
A firing squad to stand before
His ‘cowardice’ to recompense.
No coward, he, whose mind was shot
By horrors that are best forgot.

I’m glad I’ll never go to war
And wish that none that path need take,
But those who must, who leave our shore,
Our peace to keep, for our Land’s sake,
They all a place of honour find,
Close to my heart, and in my mind.

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary