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A lot of the battlefield land may have started off flat but it was soon filled with shell holes, some thirty feet deep. Most of the biggest holes were from mines like that of Lochnagar Crater.  The trenches and dug outs have left their mark too of course.

Today you can see how changed the land is.  I wrote this poem about Verdun, it was shortlisted in the Swansea Writers poetry competiton on the war. It could apply to anywhere on the Somme.




Walk as far as you’re allowed.

‘Interdit. Verboten. Forbidden.’

For the earth still yields

a deadly iron harvest.


Stop and gaze around.

You’ll see green undulating hills,

but they were not always there.

A hundred years ago this place was blasted

with explosives and millions of shells.

In their wake a desert terrain

of pockmarks and craters,

brimmed with soldiers’ shattered remains.


Go there today and remember,

those lush mounds shroud a living hell.