War Photographs by Phil Carradice

The classic view, shot quickly between raids –
Long lines of waiting men snake back to shore.
Behind them, framed by smoke and shell, France fades
And steels itself to rule of gangster law.

Perhaps one day I’ll spot my father there
Amongst that crowd of salt-stung men, flesh raw,
Exhaustion and defeat in each blank stare –
I need him now to leap to me once more.

Remember how the waiting warlord loomed
By chance out of a crowded Munich street?
Crazed eyes exultant as the camera zoomed,
That summer of fourteen, his world complete.

Bizarre how evil lasts, caught there on film
While goodness dies, a falling, fading rhyme.
I search for just the faintest hint of him;
And, oh, if I could see him one more time.

By Phil Carradice

Additional information: Phil Carradice (born 1947), is a Welsh writer and broadcaster. Carradice was born in Pembroke Dock. He was educated at Cardiff College of Education and Cardiff University, and became a teacher and social worker. After several years as head of Headlands Special School in Penarth, near Cardiff, he retired from the teaching profession to become a full-time writer. He hosts a history series on BBC Radio Wales entitled The Past Master. Carradice is a prolific public speaker and travels extensively in the course of his work.

The Mother of Peredur by Noragh Jones

Six sons and a husband gone to war,

I worried sick. Sure enough

news of their deaths came, one by one.

Then I took Peredur, my last,

To a lonely place, brought him up

in an absence of knights. We were women and children

Touching a gentleness more exact,

Listening, laughing, agreeable together.

Till one day he comes and says,

‘Mother, mother, in the forest

Riders pass in a shining haze’.

‘Ghosts’, I say sadly. ‘Heroes,

Not ghosts’, he shouts, suddenly loud.

‘They’ve promised to teach me how to fight’.

He took our stout old piebald pony,

Kissed me and left. That was the last

I saw of him. The years slip by, and

Travelling folk bring tales of my only

Hero, expecting fat tips

For boosting maternal pride. There is nothing

For them or for me. I am emptied by

His deeds. If I could, I would wish for his

One death, to save the many he will kill.

 

By Noragh Jones

from Women’s Voices from the Mabinogion


Fun fact: Peredur (Old Welsh Peretur) is the name of a number of men from the boundaries of history and legend in sub-Roman Britain.