Laura Zoe Collins

IN A MILLION WORDS

It should have been said in a million words
although words cannot describe
the suffering our heroes went through so that we,
the future generations,
could live in a world of peace and hope, a world
that they would never know.

It should have been said in a million words
because we are the voice of thousands
who cannot begin to comprehend the pain and
despair they felt,
watching and waiting as their brothers fell to their knees
in agony; knowing it was their turn next.

It should have been said in a million words
because how can we ever forget their lost youth,
A boy of fourteen, a child, holding a gun and
fighting like a man.
What did he ever do to deserve dying in a hell
that was his war?

It should have been said in a million words
but it is not said out loud.
It is said by the maple trees that were planted
in the blood drenched earth;
A tree for a life and the leaves flutter to the ground,
just as the men who fell.

It should have been said in a million words,
not just three.
‘Known Unto God’ written on too many gravestones
as only God knows their place of rest.
Row upon row were massacred in Flanders’ Fields where
poppies grow, and they shall never be forgotten.

What should have been said in a million words,
can only be said in two – Thank you.

Author’s Note: Written in November 1996 when aged 16 after a school trip to Ypres and the War Cemeteries

Note from Ron Houghton, Laura’s grandfather: I have persuaded my lovely Granddaughter to give me full authority to send you her poem entitled ‘In A Million Years’. She wrote the poem following a school visit to Ypres and some of the WW1 graves in Belgium; she was aged 16 at the time and was clearly deeply moved by what she saw.

White House Cemetery, sited northeast from Ypres
White House Cemetery, sited northeast from Ypres, was named after the ‘White House’ on the Ypres road between St. Jean and the bridge over the Bellewaardebeek