Village girls in gingham frocks,
farmers in their Sunday smocks,
trestle-tables lined with cloths,
and bunches of forget-me-nots
festoon the old, oak rafters.
A piper plays a saraband,
lads and lassies all join hands,
kissing couples make their plans
for reading of their wedding banns
Too soon they hear the cockerel crow;
morning breaks – the night has flown.
It seems the boys to men have grown
as each puts on their soldier’s clothes
in a bid to save the Empire.
The sweethearts wave and say goodbye,
the children ask their elders, ‘Why?’
“For King and country,” they reply
and as the clock chimes half-past five,
they ride off in coats of fire.
Their trusty steeds left far behind,
on Turkish beach – picked off like flies.
Gallipoli was where they died;
half a million lost their lives
in a dream that none rode off in.
On furrowed soil a father weeps,
a mother rocks her child to sleep.
Bells ring hollow chimes of peace,
forget-me-nots of memories, sweet,
bestrewn on old-oak coffin.