In honour of Remembrance Day, I am sharing my review of this incredible book of poetry by Frank Prem about WW1.
What Amazon says
In this Picture Poetry collection, journey with the AIF, the ANZACS and the German and French armies at war on the Western Front during the Great War of 1914 – 1918.
Have your photo taken in a studio in Cairo, and your heart broken on a small street in Ballarat.
The bombs are falling in an endless fusillade of artillery fire from both sides of the conflict, turning the Somme into a clagging stew of slurried mud and maddened men.
Frank Prem has taken images of men at war and created verse stories to accompany them and to tell you that this war is hell.
Welcome. Welcome to the Somme.
I am endlessly fascinated by war books and war poetry, especially about WW1 which seems to have been one of the most dreadful and destructive of all human conflicts I know about. The idea of millions of young men, the age of my oldest son, and maybe even my younger son, living in the squalor and horror of the trenches with death all around them is overwhelmingly dreadful. I keep wondering how the world ended up embroiled in the dead end and destructive war that continued for four years and destroyed the lives of an entire generation, male and female.
Frank Prem’s book is a beautiful and graphic tribute to all those brave men and women who gave their lives for their countries between 1914 and 1918. The poet has taken a selection of black and white photographs from the war archives and matched them to well chosen and vivid words about life and death during this time.
All the poems in this collection are powerful and worthy, but these two extracts are from the ones that have remained in my thoughts and heart:
be quiet now
do not speak
they may not
they many not
let them leave us
I have had
I who would
take him to
some other place
take him away
the night at play
doomed to hear
to sing it
like a mantra playing
From another night (like this)
I purchased a paperback version of this book because I regard it as a collectors item along with my poetry collections by Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and Rupert Brooke.