Shells

Nigel Hallworth

SHELLS


Long long ago, on the top of a hill

A pretty young girl sang as she filled

A shiny long pointed artillery shell

The purpose of which, she knew very well

Was to send young German soldiers to hell.


For long, long ago, this pretty girl laid

With a lad who had for the privilege paid,

But disaster struck, his manhood failed,

A consequence of too much ale.

But then foolish girl, she tell-told the tale;

No fury hath Hell, like a woman-scorned male...


Long, long ago, with war proclaimed,

And lads of his age coming home dead or maimed,

He remembered that night's adolescent shame.

And he knew who to hurt, he knew who to blame.


Punctured pride, humiliation

Imagined shame, degradation

Discovered her name ; retaliation


Next day went straight

To the magistrate.


She made me pay, this lad, he said,

She made me pay, to share her bed,

And that upright man, that magistrate,

Believed the boy, and sealed her fate,


Her piteous heat-felt pleading failed,

For prostitutes must go to gaol,

But this is war.

And the greedy guns

Loudly call for more and more,

Young healthy girls,

To make munitions.


So condemned to work

At this Nobel calling

She made her way to the top of the hill


Were she worked with a will

Making shells to kill

Young men


© nigel hallworth 2014