by Dr. Peter Gehbauer, Captain, Royal Canadian Artillery
(Inspired by In Flanders Fields by Dr. John McCrae, Lieutenant Colonel, Canadian Army Medical Corps)
Beyond barbed wire row on row
in trenches, bunkers lies the foe.
Pockmarked landscape guns have touched
mixed earth and death,
outreaching hands, bayonets clutched, both
friend and foe.
Early morning, April ninth,
each side, trenches manned.
“Danger Close!” the gunners cry,
“Check gun’s lay! Check fuzes afore you fire!”
Soldiers advance through the wire,
row on row.
Underground, in wait the foe,
alerted, shout Kamarad! An die Geschüetze! in surprise.
Canada advances on Vimy’s Ridge
behind the barrage of rolling thunder.
“Advance, advance!” bold, determined,
Vimy’s Ridge, Canada’s prize,
“Ours for the taking” Sergeants urge,
“Go, Laddies, Go!”
On Vimy’s Ridge, a memorial stands,
names engrave its ramparts,
a weeping mother, mourning
as Soldiers lie in its hallowed ground
row on row.
Lest we forget,
in nearby Neuville-Saint-Vaast
lie German Soldiers, no less a sacrifice
names on crosses, row on row.
Lest we repeat,
forget not the sacrifice of all, my friend.
When will all this madness end?
Will we ever know?