for the 11th hour..

So, a while back I had this poem published in Tourist to the Sun. I wrote it on the 11th November 2019, and it gives a nod to the the fact that as a child I actually lived next door to a man who fought in the First World War. There are few of his kind, if any, or even my kind left these days. So, Lest We Forget..

Eleventh Hour

At the Eleventh Hour, everything


Streets fell silent,

shops fell silent,

and silence sat among the men

like a sentinel at a sepulchre.

No whispered voices could be enough to cry 

halt to the outpouring of Remembrance;

to cry halt to the keen numbness,

as the distance of time dissolves

into deafening chaos, distorted

heat-warped haze with seamless 

streams of fiery trails, 

endlessly raining down,

as the black sky cracked, 

choking, spewing, belching

acrid thunder,

and split the world,

and ripped the whole asunder.

All quiet now.

Few last men standing to tell the tale;

and if they do, it’s all the gripping glory

and drunken frolics of camaraderie,

rather than spilling their guts

and fear, to anyone who’ll hear.

And if he had not told me, what then?

Only third hand inference from my pen.

A woman to relate that story of countless men.

A generation lied to and lost;

A generation left to count the cost.

I remember this man still.

One lung; the other lost to gas,

struggling to breathe in home fire’s burning;

sitting in his chair, 

a warm blanket and windows wide to give him air.

He never talked about it much;

never to his child or wife;

thankful that he had a life.

And even then, just six years old, I saw his mind.

And, decades on, because I knew him,

we both are the last of a kind. 

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