Once, only once… I walked those hallowed grounds
where brittle, icy twigs cracked and exploded underfoot
where bone fragments and bits of shrapnel still lay strewn
where new roots have set and woods grow tall and strong
Once, I walked the icy lanes between fields of memories
while the spirits of men moan on the narrow winter wind
ghosts of the restless soldiers yearn for ultimate release
as whimpers of morphine’s delirium rustle the fallen leaves
Once, long ago, I walked on that frozen midwinter’s soil
where my countrymen were blown to their eternity in tiny bits
where they in agony sobbed, crying for mercy or a sip of water
begging long departed mothers to drag them from the mire
Once, yes… just once, I trod where before men in their scores
beseeched fathers to pull them from muddy bomb-blast craters
or, for God to save their desperately tortured anguished souls
to rescue them from the sorrow of the manmade living hell
Yes… once I walked on the shell-shredded broken earth
where now the twin rows of oaks grow mature and strong
where the South African flag flies forever in perpetuity
on a corner of a field of the Somme’s Northern France
I thought I heard the voices whisper
Calling… urging for me to join
At the end of my finite days
When my last breath I breathe…
Then, once I’m there, united with comrades of old
Maybe I too, can fully comprehend the violent terror…
The horror and grotesqueness of the abominable war
The war, that was said by many, to end all wars!
Once I’ve returned to rest in the earth among the bluebells
Then maybe I’ll hear their tales of guts and glory first hand
While the drummer boy beats out the pulse of the living wood
Only when I hear those sweet voices of angels will I understand
I’ve only ever visited the SA Memorial once and that was a week before Christmas. The experience will stay with me for the rest of my days! The temperature never rose above zero degrees C but my good lady and I were so captivated by the experience that we spent the whole day visiting a few different sites, beginning with Delville Wood where the SA Memorial is located.
I will unashamedly say I had tears in my eyes more than once. The cold only seemed to drive home the appreciation of the suffering those men must have endured… not for a day but some for an eternity!
Yes, I have to return… I have pledged to take my sons there… I have also pledged never to forget and to do my bit to keep the flame burning! Those folk, from many nations, fought for our FREEDOM! Thanks you for your sacrifice!
Please begin at the top left corner to see all the captions… God Bless!
For the fascinating history please click on the official link below…