Letter from Loved Ones.

Based on a letter sent from Richard Smethurt to his parents. Written on the day he died. Currently on display at the Imperial War Museum – Manchester.


he was lucky.


he survived.

And your thoughts and your prayers are what keep him alive.


no bombs fell from an evil sky


was not spent trying to hide


Today was made better, with the thoughts of replying to your last letter.

The scratching of his pencil drowns out the clacking of the bullets

Whistling furiously overhead, with each hit target another soldier dead.

Here he is snug, rug out.

As he writes this wire he is by the fire, imagines almost miles away from the dug out and warm

Not cold,

not waiting for dawn

where there will be snipers lying in wait like vipers to attack, take back in a war that nobody really wins.

Each day begins the same,

a game of living,

giving everything he’s got for if not then one mistake and He is another stake in a field of white, in a war fought through spite.


He has a feeling that something is not quite right.

Which is funny

as the day dawned warm and and sunny.

And The mice and lice are almost bearable, boots shined and polished and almost wearable.

Even though

The drinking water has been condemned, ration packs scare among the men

Best friends with ticks and fleas, waterlogged to their knees.

Yet he has a feeling, not quite believing

Through the laughing and joking, ribbing and poking as boys become men, with the weight of the war carried on shoulders no older than you or I.

But writing this letter, things become better, a link to home,

where there is no war

and he is not alone.

Not Lying wet and cold in the mud, stained with fellow brothers blood,

And now he has to go,

To get some rest, to be his best, on sniper duty at eleven, a watchful eye thru til 7.

Sending love and kisses, hoping for another day of misses

And he remains your loving son

Who was shot down dead in World War One.

It’s Been a Year……

It’s been a year

One whole year

Yet no real time at all
Since I got that call
That, your time here was not for long
In fact
Within three days you were gone.

One whole year

And I still think about you every day
Little ways in which things remind me
Anecdotes that find me, wanting to share
And then
I remember you are not there.

That twinkle in your eye and smile
Even though jokes could take a while
And oft over your head, instead I pull up short
Thoughts grind to a halt, a fresh assault.

One whole year.

And at the time I felt I let you down
I wanted to say at your wake the words
That I could use to make sense of you
And what you mean
What you have been to me.

Instead I choked; spoke words that were not mine
Which was fine because they were true,
Said what I wanted about you.
But still not what I had crafted,
Pen poised nothing drafted.

Three hundred and sixty five days
And I still think of the ways to say
The pages started
Words departed
An empty space

And now your face fades away,
Memories fade to grey
And still I cannot find the words to say
And I think I understand now
That it is okay.

One whole year

Of many more to come
And yet I must succumb
That you are gone

And as your grave
Grows old and tired
I sit back, reflect and ponder,
Yonder days in distant past
And, remember memories last

One whole year

And I finally found a way
To share my feelings
And say what I had to say

One whole year
And I still think about you every day.
One whole year
But I know you are never really far away.

Looking at Life

I like to look at life through my camera lens
It’s neat and compact and it all makes sense

Looking at life through my camera lens
I can see without looking,
I can touch without feeling
I can stand back and let it all sink in

Looking at life through my camera lens
I can choose only the good, avoiding all the bad
I can stand aloof, just an observer of life passing by
I am immune from all that’s occurs

Looking at life through my camera lens
I don’t have to get up close
I can zoom and enlarge
I create the world the way I wish to see it

Looking at life through my camera lens
I can add light where there is dark
I can chase away shadows
I can avoid those imperfections that we do not want others to see

Looking at life through my camera lens
I can see all, but they cannot see me.

Millie 2012

*first read at 10th July as part of open mic night, part of Contacting the World 2012 at Contact Manchester.

Long Lost Summers Day

Amidst the rain
I see the sun
Forgotten days
Full of fun
Beneath the trees
The shadows now rule
Was laughter and frolicking
And playing the fool
Where flowers danced
And swayed in the breeze
When life was better
And darkness was a tease
The days were long
And blue and bright
But the badness still
Crept out at night
The ghost of a long lost summers day
Now Fading silently into grey


This, this what we have
Scares me.
This hot, intense passion
Consumes me
This not being one
Inspires me
You, inspire and scare me
You are my person
The eyes that I want to look into when I wake
The heart that beats in tune to mine
The intensity, the easy silence
The comfort, the contentment
The ease at which we communicate
The world in which we create
Knowing I am no longer alone, that I have a someone
That I to am needed, half of a whole.
This, this what we have
Scares me
But in a good way.


I would like to be a tumble weed

Tumbling and bumbling along

Drifting with the breeze

To the tune of natures song


The life of a tumble weed

It may look lonely

But the adventure the travel

I watch and think if only

Dash it all.

One wonders why we bother at all
The harder one tries the further one falls
What is the point?
What is the reason?
Always unhappy season thru season
Going on, growing old
Supposed to be something better
Or that’s what we are told
Bodies lying frail, abandoned, abused
Each wrinkle tells a story of life that has been used
Left lonely to wither, decay
Nothing more coming their way
Why would I want to wait so long
Before dying and ending life’s sweet song
What is the point of getting old and infirm
No one to listen to the lessons we learn
 I never asked nor chose to be born
 It’s unfair to struggle through life so torn
Full of love, torment and hate
What is the point, why should I wait?
One small slit, one cocktail of pills
Life is no more full of ill wills
One long sleep to finally slip away
No one to notice, no one to say
People poking through life that is bare
I won’t be here, I will not care
Everything left ordered and neat
I won’t be here, please let me sleep
Millie Jan 2012



When that time comes
And there’s nothing left to try
Remember that ole promise
Please just let me die
When no miracle has appeared
When all the hope has gone
When prayers haven’t been answered
Please don’t let me live on
If all that’s left is machinery
Just beeps and tubes and wires
Remember that ole promise
And release me to the fires
Please don’t wait and watch me disappear,
grow weak and fade away
just think and remember
All the good times before this evil day
Memories will live forevermore
Like when we danced in the rain
Or the time at a party
Believe in laughter no more pain
When the time comes
And there are no more tears to cry
Remember that ole promise
And go, don’t watch me die
Go on in to the future
Walk fast your head held high
Just keep on going forward
There is a whole new life to try
Millie Jan 2012*
*after watching creator!

Sticks n Stones

Sticks and stones may break your bones
But words can rip and tear
Create hurt that was never there
Bones will fix and bones can mend
But words can turn your world on end
Words can be vicious and words can be vile
Words shouted in hate, words covered in bile
Words that are said, not really taken back
In a relationship always leaves a crack
Words can be mean and nasty and spiteful
The venom which spoken forever is frightful
Stab you like a knife, deep inside
And once again a part of you has died
That old motto, think before you speak
Bear that in mind, and no one will weep

Let’s Not

Let’s not
Let’s not dwell on the past
It’s gone, its over it was never meant to last
Let’s not focus on the future
It going to happen anyway
Let’s celebrate today!
Let’s celebrate the here, the now and the present
Remember, for in the future we will repent
Let’s not observe what is ugly, the unpleasant and the wrongs
Let’s not interfere with other people, their lives and their going ons
Let us just stand, relax, take a breath and be still
Pause for a moment, close your eyes if you will
Savour this moment, this minute, this hour, it will not last,
for in a blink of an eye, it’s gone, relegated to our past
Ready to be forgotten in our speed and our haste
Memories discarded like yesterday’s waste
Don’t panic the future will come along soon enough
And then.
We can worry about all that grown up stuff
Let’s not forget the here and now
Just enjoy have fun, anyway any how!