Tony Miles

Waste – Woodbine Willie’s poem

My colleague Rev. Gordon Newton read this today at our remembrance Sunday service.  I hadn’t heard it read for a while, so I thought I’d post it.

WASTE

Waste of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,
Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Waste of ways the Saints have trod,
Waste of Glory, waste of God,– War!

Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy,  known as ‘Woodbine Willie’ – the soldiers friend.

He was an Anglican priest and poet  who won a Military Cross for bravery as a Padre in the trenches – under fire in one of the bloodiest battles in history.  The name, ‘Woodbine Wille’, was something that Kennedy was very proud of because it grew from his work on troop trains when he’d pass out Bibles and cigarettes. He was a chain-smoker himself.

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