BBWB 22: The Lady Of Loos

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The Lady Of Loos

On entering Loos-en-Gohelle,
Just thirty after zero,
The Black Watch & the Seaforths swell
Together, as lone hero

Attacks the antique cemetery
Maxims stall the surge,
Sizzling like oil spit, tutelary
On the village verge

As battye-bombs assault the nest
They halt its deadly spray
“Right lads, lets tackle all the rest,”
The Push, well underway

Went rattling down abandon’d street
A lass of seventeen
In schoolclass English them did meet
“My name is Emileen

Its dangerous, you must beware,
In houses all around
Are Germans hidden everywhere
In cellars undergound.”

As Gordons, Black Watch, Camerons
With teams of Seaforth mingle
What bevy of battalions
Brose-brought-up by the ingle

Whom bomb-by-bomb, whom room by room,
The danger zones did clear
Each cellar-dweller, dead, exhum’d
Reduces furtive fear

Among the yards & gardens search
McAllister & Currie
Stumbling across a humble church
Where white flags wave with worry

“Lets bomb the bastards,” Peter hiss’d
“Not in the good Lord’s house…” quoth John
…Come out! Come out! stern shouts insist,
Respond despondants one-by-one

Slow slide outside with empty hands
At Heaven’s goodness pointed
None notic’d one man awkward stands
His backbone double-jointed

Who slowly eas’d his rifle down
His spine & with a flashing
One second’s worth of shock, of frown,
Of gunshot temple smashing

Pete Currie watch’d his good friend fall
Then saw that rifle turning
Towards his chest, he made the call,
With jet propulsion burning

There was a beast inside him now
Some lycanthropic change
Wild cat uncaged in rage & how
Moralities estrange

& stab & stab & stab; enthus’d,
Dark Angels make men merrie
Slaying arch-traitors who’ve abused
The truth of sanctuary

His mate was dead, ‘though, bullet pit
Up-gushing blood & brains
For those who think he’s done his bit
Whose sacrifice obtains

An inch of Flanders for the King,
“We’ll fetch ‘im later, Peter!”
Two dead lads left they, holding hands,
Arran John, Austrian Dieter

The village was a kettle-pot
Of battle, at each corner
Bomb, shell & shot, the combat hot
Enough to steam a sauna

As Emileen’s famous family store
Transmorphs to dressing station
She bandag’d lads, she wash’d the floor
She trusted innovation

She improvis’d a bed for him
A splint for those legs broken
& where survivor’s chances slim
Took time for sweet words spoken

‘Pop-Pop’ a doctor drops down dead
“There’s snipers in the district,
All men seek cover,” but instead
Young Emi joins the conflict

“Can I take zese,” the soldiers stare,
& nod, their green grenades
Gone out the door, gone off elsewhere
With the bravest of maids

Who knew the streets, could walk them blind
Soon finds the snipers hiding
Within an attic hole confined
& felt an over-riding

Hate for them, for all they stood for
Conquerors most crass
She pulls the pins, across the floor
Slow rolls each metal mass

Explosions blow those men apart
On whom the roof implodes
Now Emileen has play’d her part
& walks back to the crossroads

Where stood her shop, she steps inside,
“You’re safe, now, carry on,”
The soldiers gaz’d on boggle-eyed
Guess’d what this ‘frog’ had done

The village soon was fully mopp’d
But further east, alas,
Oer St Auguste the Black Watch stopp’d
Atop the sloping mass

Of armour-plated, barbellate,
Hill Seventy; below
Them fresh-built lines of trenchworks wait
The next dice fate would throw

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