I knew A Bloke

I knew A Bloke

A Poem by Keith
"

A casual conversation of probably less than 4 minutes, but it "shook me to the core".

"

I knew  a bloke who rarely spoke,
A gentle kindly soul.
Then one day his words did flow
Through my heart they tore a hole.
His soft voice told a story so hard
It changed  my perception of war.
Another point of view from which
I hadn't considered  before.


He went to church his faith was strong
But I never heard him preach.
And how to help your fellow man
So much that he could teach
His home a refuge  open wide
If you need a place to dwell.
We were all aware  of his good deeds
But I never knew him well.


The first communion of our sons
Both were 10 years old.
Proud parents gathering afterwards
Was when his story told.
This man so proud of his only son,
He reflected way back when
He was a child of that same age,
Things were so different then.


We all had childhood heroes
Mine were  pilots of the sky.
The “Dam Busters”, what a movie
I watched those bombers fly.
I applauded the Allied victories
Like the thousand bomber raid.
Reeking havoc on the enemy,
A strategic impact made.


We were living in serenity
The peace of a tropical isle.
His memories overwhelming,
The story began with a smile.
He was born in nineteen thirty five,
By the tender age of ten
He had only ever known of war
Daily bombings happening then.


He spoke of air raid warnings
And in bunkers underground.
The constant pounding of the earth
So loud their screams were drowned.
They lived in different places
Each time a brand new start.
The reason being their last house
Had just been blown apart.


He spoke of  grief and sadness
And how his mother cried,
Each time they learned an uncle,
Or little cousin died.
Occasionally he went to school
And hung his bag up on the rack.
Each time another empty hook
A little child won't be back.


I was fighting back my tears by then
My eyes beginning to swell,
On learning that this gentle man
Had risen out of hell.
He played amid the ruin and rubble
And occasional body piece.
At ten he’d never considered
That war would ever cease.


Sometimes he skipped the shelters
To watch from a nearby hill.
Exploding bombs and tracer bullets
A horrid childhood thrill.
He bore witness to  the spectacle
Of bombers going down.
He watched the firestorm burn
Cremating his whole town.


And my hero bomber pilots,
How could they ever know
That a little boy named Helmut
Played in Dresden down below?
His words cut deep into my soul
They shook me to the core.
Surely no one truly believes
In victory from war.


© 2013 Keith



Author's Note

Keith
A Story that I have wanted to tell for a long time. It thanks was to Baby Ricochet's brilliant write of "The London Blitz 12/29/1940" that finally inspired me to get of my arse and make it happen.

My Review

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Featured Review

Even in a just fight, innocent lives are affected. Yet humanity does achieve a temporary reprieve when evil is cut out. Like an unpleasant surgery to remove a tumor. Hard to take and the body suffers, but the life is preserved. I agree war is sickening for all parties.
A worthy write and reminds my eye of another poet from Aussi land, David Lewis Padget.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you so much for thoughtful review, yes the evil must be cut out, at least in WWII evil was eas.. read more



Reviews

Have good friends of my age who lived in Mannheim. I lived in Liverpool late thirties fourties and got to America in 52 war is still with me

Posted 4 Years Ago


And we, and my we has no borders, continue to drop fire on children. Thank you for this write, Keith.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you Pryde, I have seen that you have strong feelings on this matter in your own writing.
This is a powerful and entrancing poem. It kept me guessing as to how it would end all the way to your surprising mention of Dresden, a city that was bombed almost out of existence. Perfect rhyming throughout and generally good cadence. A few misplaced accents kept it from being perfect. One notable instance of splendid cadence was your choice of the word "cremating" (his whole town.) The accent on the second syllable is exactly what was needed for the line. By coincidence, I happened to have seen "Dam Busters" on television a month or so ago. An epic poem. Excellent writing. Richard

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you Richard, your kind comments are much appreciated. As one very new to writing poetry I par.. read more
Your poem tells a story everyone needs to hear, especially those so quick to drop the bombs! You told it so well, Keith.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith, Keith, Keith.... This.... Was......

A H ~ M A Z I N G ! ! ! !

I loved it, it was really well written. Us, kids, are innocent to all the wars that go on in this world but a lot of us pay the price for other people fighting. The story you wrote was amazing and really hit home and will hit home to anyone.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Noodle, I am sure I keep responding here, but they seem to disappear. Thank you so much for that wo.. read more
I anticipated the twist (that he was German) about two thirds through the poem, but the message is still a strong one. Unfortunately many of the victims in war (all wars) are innocent civilians, including children. A poignant write. Thanks for sharing. ~ Robert.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you for calling in Robert. Yes the innocent civilians rarely hit the headlines, although the .. read more
Very affecting story within your poetry Keith, gave me chills, this is what poetry is all about, sharing emotions from life, you've done that rather aptly with this one my friend....kudos.

Posted 4 Years Ago


This comment has been deleted by the poster.
Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you for the read and generous comments Frieda.
Frieda P

4 Years Ago

Always my pleasure...
Wow Keith, this is heartfelt and so thought provoking. So glad you got off your arse and wrote this lol.
Seriously though, I often watch documentaries on television about WW2 and the tragedies on all sides continually overwhelm me.
To hear this from a first source would bring tears to anyone's eyes.
Thank you for writing and sharing!
I have no idea what the rating thing means so have left it alone when I have commented!

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thank you again, this was about 15 years ago and I had lost touch with Helmut. I caught up with him.. read more
A story that gave me goosebumps. We never know the true stories behind the casualties of war, do we? What a wonderful character study of a man you obviously admire! Living through the terrors of war changes a person forever...whether that person is a soldier or a civilian. Helmut decided to share his memories with the right person. Beautifully written and with flawless rhyme once again. lydi**

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thanks again Lydia, I am humbled by you thoughful review.
Inspiring poem so vividly and poetically scribed in detailed fashion, of a child's innocent view of war and then in maturing years the frank understanding of its horrid brutality !

Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen amongst many would duly concur !

Posted 4 Years Ago


Keith

4 Years Ago

Thanks Tom, I will read some of their work, I am only vaguely aware of Sasoon. I appreciate you ca.. read more
Tom

4 Years Ago

Famous anti-war poets Keith, of the highest calibre !

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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on June 22, 2013
Last Updated on June 29, 2013
Tags: War, Bomber, Dresden

Author

Keith
Keith

Gippsland, Victoria, Australia



About
I grew up on a diet of Australian bush poetry. Now a business consultant, I spend far too much time on aeroplanes and in hotels, I use this time to write. I like to tell stories and have fun. If y.. more..

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