WORLD WAR I

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I. Nineteen fourteen - the King is dead.

Vive la Roi!

Europe, frenzied and fanatical and burning with fervour

Forecasts a brief cleansing rainstorm.

Young men, in their well-meaning naivety,

only too glad to join the ranks

for glory, God, and gold,

Or so the story goes.

But no one predicted

A long road to a shallow grave

And still pealing a world away,

The church bells ring like an epitaph.

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II. The world mobilized.

Ab irato, there is no peace on earth

While field guns thunder and bullets hail down

Louder, louder, and drown the voice of justice.

Once golden plains and skies of placid blue

Now masked by a murderous flooding fog.

But somewhere,

The stars still shine, seemingly stationary,

Just as unaffected,

As day surrendering to the night,

and night to day,

As the swallows gliding high above.

What's it like to feel so free?

To not know of haunting memories like these

But in truth, such a nightmare isn't in memory alone,

nay, but the fear that memory will go on and on

without end, amen

Beyond these blood-soaked battlefields and cataclysmic days.

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III. A continent, a generation

Raped, ravaged, pillaged, destroyed.

The catatonic waves of machine gun fire

Of hatred, greed, and ambition

No longer heard, perhaps,

But still felt

Ad infinitum

Reverberating through the ground, sky, ocean.

Across the fields, through the trenches, and between the crosses

Once stood the soldiers, little more than boys

Their eyes meeting no one

Their bodies,

Thrown overboard into an ocean

of ravenous wolves.

The church bells peal no longer.


A/N: I wrote this in grade 11, I believe. I made some references to concepts in our history textbooks, because I had to write it for a school project. There's also a couple references to the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" but they're so vague it's hardly worth mentioning.

1. "Nineteen fourteen - the King is dead" refers to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. This event is seen as the immediate trigger to WWI.

2. "Forecasts a brief cleansing rainstorm" refers to the general opinion prior to the war that it would be a short and efficient way to solve the hostilities, at least from my understanding. Oh, the irony . . .

3. "for glory, God, and gold" a phrase representing European's motivations to explore. Wealth and riches, competition for empire and ethnocentrism, and the belief and desire to spread one's own culture (i.e. Christianity) are summarized in this phrase. Nationalism and imperialism are some of the underlying causes for WWI; therefore, glory, God, and gold.

4. murderous flooding fog = mustard gas. One of the major military innovations in WWI was the use of poison gas.

5. Vive la Roi! = long live the king. Ab irato = from an angry man. Ad infinitum = to infinity.