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Text for Callum Blackmore's The Last Time I Stood


Lyrics libretti


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Letter dated 10th July 1917

“The first time I stood on a modern battlefield and saw the ruin and havoc and desolation... I realised for the first time, the horrors of war. I could not describe the Messines battlefield to you if I tried for the havoc and ruin baffles all description. Just imagine all those aspen trees around your place... smashed and uprooted, not a branch on any one of them, and of those that stood, only a portion of the trunk remaining. Imagine those paddocks around your house for a mile or more on either side so smashed up with shell fire not a blade of grass is to be seen. Imagine the shell holes to be so close together that it would be impossible for one to stand on a portion of the ground that was not broken by shells. Imagine broken barbed wire entanglements, broken trenches and smashed dugouts and, here and there, a small wooden cross marking the grave of a soldier perhaps, or, I saw in one or two cases, those crosses broken and the grave smashed by shell fire. It seems horrible that not even the dead can rest and be untouched by those damnable... shells.”

Charles Stuart Alexander