The War Donkey

A shell bursting near a park of Indian A. T. carts on the Western Mule Track. © IWM (Q 13559)
Eva Mon, 21/04/2014 - 19:17

Little donkey who can know the things your eyes have seen.
Your hooves on battlegrounds have trod o"er fields where once the grass was green.

You fell like many of your brothers beneath the cannons blast,
faithful to the end as soldiers by your side held fast.

The ultimate price was asked of you in a war you did not make,
when humankind strove valiantly and fought for peaces sake.

No meadow sweet or stable soft and warm would be your bed,
but a battleground with shells and bullets whistling overhead.

Laden with the tools of war you struggle ever onward,
dreaming of your peaceful fields your memory flies on homeward.

Your sacrifices and your sorrows carved on our fair land,
will never be forgotten while our liberty doth stand.

I have thought about the war a lot over the last few months for a few reasons. My son over in Holland has been looking into my family's history and I lost a great uncle in a battle in France when he was only 26. I have thought about all the people who lost loved ones, some of them young men. It made me think of all the animals who had no choice but to go where humans took them, into battle and I know a lot of them died. I knew horses were used a lot but I only found out recently that they also used mules and donkeys. I just wanted to speak for them in poetry.

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A beautiful and thought-provoking poem Eva. The photo alongside brings home the reality of what it must have been like for them.

Jenny L. Bates's picture

Lovely poem, reminding us through the Donkey of all of the other animal species who have given their lives in the struggles of human conflict. Donkeys deserve the Dignity of this poem.

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