Tag Archives: War

WWI Trench Art

12 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites



For DiVoran’s birthday I took her to the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida so she could view the “Gone With The Wind” exhibition on display there.   She loved it. While she was enjoying the exhibits about that famous story of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, I strolled around the galleries on the other three floors of the building. It was a pretty impressive arrangement, with exhibits covering mostly Florida history.


One exception was the WWI Trench Art exhibit. I was simply amazed at what some of those soldiers had done with what was called, in one description, “War Waste.” There was no end to the creativity shown by the many different examples displayed. There were creations using the smallest rifle cartridges, to those using some of the largest canon shell casings. There were pieces ranging from a small crucifix, to a multi-bulbed desk lamp. And some of the artistic work was breathtaking!


To think that in the midst of one of the world’s worst conflicts, and in the cold and muddy trenches filled with the smell of death, that it was possible for men to be able to remove themselves (thoughts and emotions) in a way as to create such beauty out of some the very components that they were using to perpetuate that devastation.


It’s disturbing for me to think about the millions of young men who have had to go to a war for any reason, but especially those with such talent as displayed in these art forms. Of course, there was the much used reference of “Turning Swords into Plowshares” which didn’t help when I tried to imagine how much talent has been wasted over the centuries because of the many wars that have been fought around the world. There was a picture of a huge pile of shell casings, which must have been the source of some of the “War Waste” referred to in one of the articles about Trench Art.


There were several WWI posters (collector items by now) encouraging Americans to “Buy War Bonds” to support the war effort. I remember the stories about how the people of this country tried to stay out of the “War Over There” but how they rallied together to support out military once the U.S. joined the fight.


It reminded me of pictures and stories of my dad, who had been a medic and ambulance driver with the U.S. Army in France during WWI. I’m sure he saw his share of terrible things during that conflict, as did many, but like most of them he never talked about it to us.


If you get a chance to visit the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida in the near future, be sure to see the “WWI Trench Art” exhibit (there until 12/31/2014). If not, you can go on the internet and Google WWI Trench Art and you’ll be amazed, as I was, with what you will see posted there, and with many references to other links. Enjoy!


—–The End—–


Before and After War

20 Jan

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and Artist

Before and After War

Before Daddy went away to war

He worked in a tomato plant.

Working hard, that’s what dads are for.

He didn’t rave and he didn’t rant.

When Dad got home, he laid down to rest

I sat on the end of the couch each night

To us that part of the day was best.

I stroked his hair, I did it right.

But while he was away at war

He got hurt inside, I guess

He was different, bruised and sore.

And he doesn’t lay on the couch anymore.


I’d still like to stroke his hair,

And make him feel all better.

But I guess that I can’t help him

He’s now an old war vetter.

Dateline Flanders, December 24, 1914

24 Dec

DiVoran shared a wonderful poem over on Rebekah Lyn Books.  I hope you find it as touching as I did. Merry Christmas to each of our bloggser and readers. I hope you are able to spend time with your loved ones. Remember our soldiers both past and present~ Love, Onisha


Dateline Flanders, December 24, 1914

By DiVoran Lites

 Cold night, starry night,

Not a solider here in sight.

Trenches dug as deep as graves,

No one stirs, and no one waves.

Suddenly from out the dark

Comes a candle like a spark

Set upon a small pine tree

Lighting bold and shining free.

German sign ‘cross no man’s land

A song rings out, a friendly hand.

Sunrise comes, thus ends the night.

“You don’t fight. We don’t fight.”

Daylight now, they bury dead

Not in trench, but grave instead

Then the boys share gifts of food

In Christmas cheer and kindly mood

And then a bit of playful rest

The touch of Life, a game of zest

Until the Brass Hats get the word

Oh, no, they say, it’s too absurd.

Get back to work and shoot some more

Peacefulness is such a bore.

The Christmas truce comes to an end,

Millions dead before the mend

In the spring red poppies grow

Around the crosses, row on row.

We’ll always have the wars you see,

But Peace has come for you and me.

British and German troops meeting in No man's ...

British and German troops meeting in No man’s land during the unofficial truce (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars, 7th Division, Bridoux-Rouge Banc Sector) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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