Bearing in mind Prince William’s imaginative competition for “A Poem to Remember” to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World war and reflect on humankind’s ability to triumph over adversity, here is poignant reflection by one of the lesser known voices of The First World, Ewart Alan Mackintosh.

It can be found in Ghosts of War, a History of World War 1 in Poetry and Prose, edited by Andrew Ferguson.


In the glen where I was young

Blue-bell stems stood close together,

In the evenings dew-drops hung

Clear as glass above the heather.

I’d be sitting on a stone,

Legs above the water swung,

I a laddie all alone,

In the glen when I was young.


Well, the glen is empty now,

And far am I from them that love me,

Water to my knees below,

Shrapnel in the clouds above me;

Watching till I sometimes see,

Instead of death and fighting men,

The people that were kind to me

And summer in the little glen.


Hold me close until I die,

Lift me up, it’s better so;

If, before I go, I cry,

It isn’t I’m afraid to go;

Only sorry for the boy

Sitting there with legs aswung

In my little glen of joy,

In the glen when I was young.