Tell Me, John, Let Me Hear it Once by Seumas Gallacher

Tell Me, John, Let Me Hear it Once

by Seumas Gallacher

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

Now that I myself am growing old

As you were not allowed to do,

When your country went to War,

Killing them, and us, and you.

Is Humanity so bereft

Of sense and sensibility?

That murder dressed as War

Is the tip of Man’s ability?

Yes, my dear, I understand

There’s times to right the wrong

When Nation pits at Nation

To prove which one is strong.

But feel each mother’s loss

The angst, the grief, the pain

It’s no use telling them,

‘Let them not have died in vain’.

For every priceless child that’s gone,

Every precious son and daughter,

There can ne’er be salve enough

To ease the cost of slaughter.

So, yes, let us remember,

Not the glory, nor the killing

Nor the rant of politicians

Sending us to do their willing.

Yes, please,

Tell me, John, let me hear it once

From beyond the grave wherein you lie.

Tell me once, that I may know

Why the Hell did you have to die?

With thanks to Seumas Gallacher for allowing me to republish his moving poem on First Night History.