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Memories of War and my Mary

Flanders Field

Dear reader:

My bompa (British term for grandfather), is no longer with us. In World War I he was Private First Class Sanford Dobson. Bompa was in the infantry division of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces, the forerunner of the Canadian Armed Forces. He died from his third heart attack when I was five. My grandfather married my grandmother December 27, 1922. This poetry reflection based on the recollections of myself and my family seeks to honour his memory, and those who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country. We miss you, bompa.

An infantry soldier of 17 am I

In World War 1 I see a dear friend die

We are laughing, telling jokes, sharing stories

I wonder why he stops talking

I touch him. He slumps over

Dead from a bullet is he

No longer would his jovial smile I see

In a damp fox hole I am exposed to mustard gas

Wake up every morning coughing phlegm for over half an hour

before I can begin my day

Family and friends tell me what a high price I did pay

But it’s no tougher for me than those in my platoon

whose dreams died in the cold French mud far too soon

Some have a lifetime of disability

Others are sent to their sleep of eternity

When the fresh country air of home I smell

I think back to my infantry buddies I know so well

I kiss my fiancé, Mary, stroke her beautiful hair

We tell each other how much for one another we care

Soon, we would marry

Sometimes, I would tease her singing,

“It’s a long way to tickle Mary.

It’s a long way to go.”

She would blush

Face red like cherries

Our love is as sweet as raspberries

This thought I leave with you

When you see or wear a poppy red

think of the wounded in war, their families,

think of the dead.

Let us never forget those who lay in Flanders Fields row on row

Never let their sacrifice from our memory go

Karen Osborne B.A. Christian Clinical Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student at Trinity College University of Toronto. D.Sc. in Psychology, St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne, B. Th. Canada Christian College & Graduate School. B.A., M.A. Christian Clinical Counseling, M.A-Th.D. Applied Theology student majoring in Psychology St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, D.D., D.Sc. Christian Clinical Counseling, Diplomate in Traumatology American Board of Traumatology Examiners of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, Diplomate in Creative Ministry St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne is a member of The Word Guild, which is a Christian writer’s group. Please go to for further information.