The Poetry of James Gill

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 in D-Day Poetry

The Poetry of James Gill

James GillJames Gill is a student at Clayesmore School in Dorset, England. He has graciously submitted two of his works for us to share. James wrote the poem Memories after a group of students from Clayesmore visited Normandy in September, 2002. We think you will be impressed by his ability. Thanks, James!

James Gill on the landing beaches of Normandy, September, 2002



The quiet rippling of the waves,
Try to wash the memories away.
I lay on the sands of history,
Remembering my sorry fate,
A silent victim of that time,
But I go unseen, unheard, by people passing by,
Merely a memory of a terrible time.

No one sees my blood spilled on the yellow dunes,
No one hears my cry as they pass by.
I remember blood, noise, the stench of battle and war.
But the waters of time try to wash that away.
No stench of war, no bloodstained beaches
These things go unseen, unheard by people passing by,
Merely memories of a horrifying time.

We went with smiles on our faces,
Pride in our hearts.
Feeling like we can make a difference.
We sang and laughed and held our heads high.
The eyes of the world are turning to us.
But these things go unseen, unheard by people passing by,
Merely memories of a proud time.

We jumped into ice cold water up to our faces,
We carried our burdensome packs on our backs,
We were bombarded by shells that hit the beaches,
Sand flew up in our eyes and blinded our instincts,
Bodies were ripped into shreds by machine guns,
But these things go unseen, unheard by people passing by,
Merely memories of a hell bent time.

So I lie on this beach, and remember that time,
Where we were courageous, and great men had died.
I realise how meaningful we were to the world,
To see people walking with free will and life,
And as I rest, watching the world with my comrades,
People pass by my silent white grave,
Not knowing my story as they look at my name,
Merely a memory of a worthwhile time.

James Gill
October 2002

What is War?

What is war?
Is it the rattling breath of a gun?
Is it the rumble and boom of a tank?
Is it the crumbling and crashing of bricks?
As your home and everything you knew,
Is brought to the ground in a cloud of rubble.
I don't know.
I haven't been there.

Ask them.
Those young men that smile as they march,
As they march with fiery hearts,
Into a hell of woeful misery.
They are the ones that the gun breathes on.
They are the ones that the tank sets his greedy eye on.
Ask them.

The heart-breaking moment,
As that telegram enters your home.
How innocent, how peaceful.
But the misery it brings.
Streaming tears of loss stain the paper.
The young men that died are at rest now.
They have no doings in this world.
They sit with their comrades in heaven,
They are at peace.
They are at rest.

James Gill
November 2001


How silent are the beaches?
How peaceful is the scene?
Give now a little thought,
To what this place has seen.

Can you see the sacrifice?
Can you see those desperate days
That brought us all to death's dark valley,
Where brave men dared to stray?

They waded through the water,
They dashed across the sand.
They chased death up the beaches,
And gave freedom to that land.

And every now and then,
Remember what they gave.
Remember how they lived and died.
And cherish what they saved.

James Gill
June 2004

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