The Wiredancer


(the Somme:  From July to November 1916 )

On the second night,

I lay in a mud hole listening to the boy from Glasgow,

Crying for his mother. He moaned several times, and then I heard no more.

Under the electric blue moon-light I could see you,

Up there by the barbed-wire,

A shadow,

Dancing on the wire to a tune that I could not hear.

There was nothing I could do, for every time I moved a bullet

Came my way.

I could feel the rush of air as it passed my ear.

I made you a solemn promise that in the morning I would cut you down and let you lie.

I remember when we shared that cigarette you told me you’d lied about your age,

You were only sixteen and that your family never knew you were here.

You never got to say ‘goodbye’.

You were brave, my son – but your dancing days are over.

It is time to rest now. Sleep well.


bobby stevenson 2017



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