Poem: “Something is very wrong” by Samantha Day

I’m wandering round my home , I cannot hear a thing
I grip onto a bannister, held together with a string
I call out for my parents, where have they disappeared?
My older siblings too, why are they not here?
It’s always been so lovely, living in this row
Our little group of cottages, a place where friends all go.
Maybe I’ll go along to school, I may just find them there,
I sit at the table at the back, on a bench, not chairs,
The room is full of people, what are they doing here?
The clothes they wear are very strange, my body’s full of fear
The books are all still on the shelf, our cups for milk are too?
What are they holding in their hands, my day is so untrue?
Someone is stood right by my desk, clicking a screen towards the class
The room is cold, the fire is out, some windows have broken glass.
I’m so confused what’s going on, where has everyone gone?
I can’t see friend or family, something is very wrong.
The farm is empty of horses and cows, machinery is rusted and bent
I can’t see my friends who live here, I don’t know where they went!
The tears fall down quietly, wet upon my cheeks
I want to find my mummy, her arms are all I seek.
I run outside and see the Church, I can pray to God for help
I see a note upon the door, I read it and give a yelp
They’ve had to leave, they had no choice, the army took our homes
But why am I still left here, why am I all alone?
I stare down at a gravestone, my name etched on the stone
A white light now surrounds me, I no longer feel alone
I look round and see my mummy, her arms are open wide
My daddy too, and Rosie, stood there side by side
I run to them with all my might, and grab them by their hands
Everything is clearer and now I understand.
Tyneham again is silent, what stories it could tell,
Of families and friends of yesteryear, and the place that they all dwelled.

Poem: “Tyneham” by Fiona Fulton

Down in the valley where grasses roll to the sea,
And blue joins seamlessly with blue,
A building graveyard slumbers.
High-limbed trees arch over rough walls and empty windows,
Stream running clear to nowhere.
Step to the schoolhouse-
Step, stop and listen.
High-pitched voices at play dance lightly,
Dust motes of memory.
The church bell rings, calls
do not forget us,
do not let our sacrifice go
unnoticed and unattended.
Wild flowers catch our eye,
nodding wisely in the breezes.
“Each year we wither and yet return,
our roots clinging deep to the land.”
So too, the memories clinging here
live once more through travellers’ eyes
and we walk away, hushed and aware.

Poem: “The Tale of Tyneham” by Angela Wybrow

Nestling in the valley below Whiteway Hill,
There stands a village where time’s been standing still.
The villagers of Tyneham, they very well remember
The year of ’43 and that bitterly cold November.

The villagers went about their usual daily chores,
Oblivious to letters which headed to their doors.
To sell their homes, the folk found they had zero choice;
Against the government War Office, folk had zero voice.

The land, it was purchased for British Army training.
Within a single month, not a soul was left remaining.
Upon the church door, there was pinned a note –
Here is the gist of what somebody wrote:

“Please treat the houses and church with due care.
A flattened village, us folk really couldn’t bear.
We’re all really hoping to return home one day.
Please look after our village while we are away.’

The last folk left their homes prior to Christmas ‘43 –
They’d hoped to return, but sadly that wasn’t to be.
With the enemy so near, some folk were relieved,
But, for their little village, many people grieved.

Over two hundred folk found themselves displaced.
Of life in the village, there’s now such little trace.
The ravages of time have surely taken their toll;
Memories of residents, the village still beholds.

The church and the school, they still stand intact,
But, against the little houses, the odds were sadly stacked.
Upon school peg hooks, there are still pupils’ names,
And their work upon the desktops to this day remains.

In this small rural village on Dorset’s Jurassic coast,
There now only remains aged spirits and ghosts.
For the war effort, Tyneham played its part.
For our great nation, Tyneham gave its heart.