Poem for the Friendship Festival 2020

For the 2020 Unison Birmingham Branch Friendship Festival we had to go virtual due to the ongoing government restrictions and the safety of our members.

So we could still reach out to our members and offer a snippet of what would have been available this Summer a virtual Friendship Festival featuring music, tai chi and poetry was arranged – in spirit of that RJP poetry submitted this poem:

Blood Sweat Tears

As we stand hunched on our haunches in our trenches
Awaiting the whistle to blow signalling in final push
We are reminded our grandfathers faced the same fears
Over one hundred years ago
Their battlegrounds were the forgotten fields of
Flanders, France and Belgium
Ours are the backstreets of home cities and towns
The foe they faced were Germanic speaking
folk much like themselves
the enemies we face are the lackeys of our own ruling-class
instead of rifles we carry placards
we shoot slogans do not fire bullets
our foe have much heavier artillery
the wounds we suffer are just as deadly
whilst they fought for the honour of high-born princes
we fight for the salvation and survival
of our friends, families, and communities
just like them we band together in groups
from local neighbouring streets we are all called Pals
when we started, we were timid as field mice
now we have been drilled and marched
into formidable fighting forces by Sergeant-Majors
wearing union badges Unite, Unison and many more
they said our grandfathers fought the war to end all wars
yet their descendants still must fight the good fight
so as we wait for the final clarion call to go over
and face the foe full on
we will scream in full chorus
“To Victory or Oblivion”
One cannot help but wonder
Will poppies grow in years that go
On the places we shed our Blood, Sweat and Tears
Will future generations remember our fears our sacrifice