Thirteen Words

On Ministry paper
his name neatly spaced,
apologies, condolences,
thirteen words aptly phrased;
she read over and over
consumed, numb to pain,
hand to mouth she realised
her lover would never write again.

How different his words
not just a week passed
when he wrote of returning
and tending the grass,
his plans for their future
their children, their life
all perfectly ended
by what had been typed.

Copyright D. Archer October 2011

Consider the birds

Above the noise,
never landing,
backed by the sun.

From first flight
birds are taught
that to survive
they must remain
above all guns.

© Copyright D.Archer October 2011

Away John Miller

Away John Miller,
Away John Moore;
I hope you know what you’re fighting for.
More than the King’s shilling
pressed in your hand,
‘tis an awful price for a family man;

Empty the towns of
the men and the boys,
empty the pubs
of the song and the noise;
kiss the babbies for you’ll kiss them no more,
the next thing you’ll kiss
is a foreign shore;

Away John Miller,
Away John Moore;
I hope you know what you’re fighting for.

© Copyright D.Archer October 2011

This poem has always had a strange musical quality which is odd because I can’t play a note. Personally I sing a strange kind of Geordie sea shanty type tune and for the love of me I can’t understand why. If you can sing or play an instrument try and put a tune to this please.


In between
the swollen graves and
huddled masses
we wait and we write;
we write and we wait
all spent but for
a little more dirt reached;
talking over fighting
shouting over shooting,
foreign tongues silenced
as and when they fall.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

From the front

They’ll write of this in years to come
diaries and letters from loved ones
at the front
at the very beginning of war
this ideology lost
amidst tired grey wet endless noise
last moments spent among the already dead
the short lived mourn free
cutting among the fields
but for a few yards grace.

This time to sleep
to dream of fields not churned
disastrous incisions made from far away
have the deepest cut and cause
the deepest pain.

Letters hand delivered
the fear of the unknown, missing or dead
fear not death
for it comes to us all
but the fear of not living is hard to behold.

Copyright D. Archer October 2011

One Tree Hill

One hoary tree
defiant against both sides
as a beacon to nature
in no-mans’ land.

Neither bomb nor winter shook it
whilst he in hellish
gas filled trench
fell where I was rooted in
my seventeenth summer.

Copyright D. Archer October 2011