Poppy Wreaths Are Laid

I left to serve with happy heart,

no thoughts of death or fear,

I even smiled and thought to tease, my Mother’s silent tear.

Rem

“Don’t worry Mother, dry your eyes and wish me all your best.

For Kaiser Bill will scamper quick, when Pals he tries to test.

We’ll sweep him up and throw him out of Flanders bonny fields.

For God is with the righteous; his glory as our shields.

I’ll be right back afore you know, your tears will hardly fall,

So see me off, with one more hug, for I answer duty’s call.”

Warboys

A warm farewell from cheering crowds and bands of fife and drum.

So soon to France and trenches, and cold that made me numb.

With whizzbang shells and sniper fire,

my happiness soon ebbed.

For nothing saps your spirits,

like rats gnawing on the dead.

hunts

The winter turned to mud and snow,

some died from it alone.

No silent night this Christmas,

the war had changed its tone.

No honour left ‘tween Fritz and us,

no truce to play a game.

Our only goal, to kill them all,

for they’re the ones to blame.nworth

 

Then the push to end it, how true that was for me.

I got twelve yards with stumbled steps and didn’t even see,

the bullets cutting like a swathe,

my guts all ripped to hell.

No pain, no sound, no screaming cries,

no tolling of a bell.

City

 

My face in mud, my breath all gone,

a darkness then a light.

I know I’m dead, yet am back home,

my Mother in my sight.

Her tears are falling hard and fast,

a bugle call is played.

A silence falls around the town.

Then poppy wreaths are laid.

WA War Memorial

My perch on high, unbounded force,

affords a spirit’s view.

I think some years have flown past,

I’m sure it is a few.

No more my pals who made it home,

seem to gather here.

Remembrance Day Crosses

 

No more can I see Mother,

no more her silent tear.

Yet now some others march instead.

Old men who were not born,

when I went forward into death,

my young life ripped and torn.

Kings Park eternal flame

And though no wreath that’s laid this day, restores my life to me,

Each allows my soul to rest, held safe in memory.

 

By Ian Andrew,
taken from The Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses
Flanders Image © IMW
All other imagery © Ian Andrew

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Remembrance Day – 2015

poppy

A pub, a church and a war memorial. The constant three. As I drove through the smallest hamlet or village in the UK, I was greeted by this triumvirate of society. One is dedicated to the enjoyment of company. To celebrate the passing of the day, to quench thirsts. Its importance undiminished. For we are a social animal.

One is for introspection. To celebrate the bounty of life and the preparation for what may come. Its importance is waning. For we are increasingly secular.

One is to remember. Dedicated to the millions, listed and unlisted who sacrificed their youth, their blood, their lives. Its importance growing. For we are their legacy.

If we do not look to them as we pass, they will fall again and the light that they flung to us will not be held safe by our hands, but will drop into the darkness. They will become distant relics of distant times, but we should have no excuse. These are not the combatants of eons past, unnamed, unknown, unseen. We hold photos of them, we know their names, we know their lives. And their deaths. So we must hold the light safe and pass it to our youngest generation that they may remember in a hundred years and more.

To those that say this glorifies war, I say, you are free to hold that opinion, for it was bought with the blood of millions. Hold your beliefs, express your opinion for it is a reflection of their sacrifice for you. But, do not stand in the way of the majority that think differently. Rather, stand to the side and say thank you and be silent for two minutes. It is a mere 120 of the yearly 31,536,000 seconds that you have been gifted by them. The least you can do is to acknowledge your debt of freedom.

RememberTo those that would take the symbol of remembrance and use it to divide, you are deluded. The poppies of Flanders grew from the blood of black, white, brown and yellow skins. The blood of Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, and others. The believer and nonbeliever. The Empire’s finest from Ireland to India, from Canada to New Zealand. They fought and died, united against a cause that you most resemble. Every year that we remember them is another year you will never come to power.

Yesterday, I drove through a country area in Western Australia. A small Church, nestled under wattle trees. A roadhouse that had a relic of a sign showing it once was a pub. Two houses and a few farms high on the surrounding hills. The area home to a few scattered thousand. In 1914 the same land would have been home to a few hundred. And a white obelisk. Standing gleaming in a triangle of tended lawn, host to twenty-six names. Three sets of brothers. Nine were under twenty-one. One was fifty. All left a gap in the lives of others.

The disappeared society, no more to drink and socialise in the pub. No more to pray for their souls and sing the hymns of their youth. All engraved forever on standing stones.

Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purpose and the detective thriller Face Value. Both are available on Amazon. Follow him on social media:

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