In the First World War they…
Who were they? Who cares any more?…
Killed four of my uncles,
So I was told one day.
There were only four on that side of the family
Allegedly swept away in a few bad years
In a war the historians tell us now
Was fought over nothing at all.
Four uncles, as one might say
A dozen apples or seven tons of dirt,
Swept away by the luck of history,
Closed off. Full stop.
Four is a lot for uncles,
A lot for lives, I should say.
Their chalk was wiped clean off the slate,
The War meant nothing at all.
War needs a lot of uncles,
And husbands, and brothers, and so on:
Someone must want to kill them,
Somebody needs them dead.
Who is it, I wonder. Me?
Or is it you there, reading away,
Or a chap with a small-arms factory?
Or is it only they?