During our recent meeting featuring the Resolven War Memorial one of the late Dai Blaina's poems on the futility of war was on display. The inspiration for the poem was a visit by Cor Meibion De Cymru to the battlefields of Northern France and Flanders including the Welsh memorial at Mametz Wood. The poem is reproduced in full below:
Why, oh why ?
On the twenty seventh year of June
Côr Meibion De Cymru in full tune
Set out to commemorate
The Greatest loss of life to date .
More than a million gave their lives away
For all the world to sing today.
As we remember their greatest sacrifice
Thoughtless pens treat men like lice.
Generals with Haig behind the lines,
Intelligence vague,confused minds.
Attack! Attack! The signals flashed
Attack! Attack! The lives they smashed.
Battered by shot and shell
Shattered by this man-made hell.
A million and more of varied tongue
With supreme courage, but so young
Their silent graves throughout France
Hide the brave smiles of these lads
Why, oh why? did they have to die
Why, oh why? we still reason why.
As tears drop from those who mourn
The fields of those ‘neath granite stone
Surely as the huge mounds
All this land is sacred ground.
As we stood on the Dragon’s Hill
Facing Mametz Wood, all standing still.
Many thoughts cloud my heart and brain
Were all those tears dropped in vain.
Thoughts of the Somme, for moments lost
As I count again, another cost.
Still sacred beneath this sacred shrine
My thoughts steal back to thirty nine.
Six long years, two more than four,
The tears of Somme dry on the floor.
So confused I look to the sky
And ask again, oh why, oh why?
Still standing at the Mametz Wood
My prayer was answered as we stood.
The brutal chambers of the gas
The Burma roads that soil the maps .
Perhaps, a fool, I could not see
A child from school knows that we are free.