11/11/18 – a poem for Armistice Day 2018

Armistice Day 2018

The clock hands have moved past ten to three
and the honey was eaten long ago.
In Flanders fields, the poppies still grow,
But November poppies bloom brighter yet
along the High Streets in coat lapels.
The sun rises and goes down, and
We will remember them, yes, we will.
But who are we who remember? And who are they who died?

We are told they died for “their country”.
But their England, their Britain, is one we cannot understand.
Our nation is not their nation.
Our world is not theirs.
One hundred years between us, and we have moved so far away, and yet…

They were told they fought the war to end all wars.
And still we fight.
Still we hate.

Are we, then, the unborn ones they fought and died to free from strife,
choking and drowning in gas-drenched French mud,
boiled alive by jets of hissing steam as their steel prisons sank beneath the waves,
or falling like burning bleeding gods from the sky?

Their faded photos mock our hopes and dreams of peace, but
We will remember them, yes, we will.

I don’t often write poetry, but this came from my experiences at Lichfield Cathedral as a volunteer at the Poppy Fields event there last night.

It almost wrote itself, and I don’t think it’s great literature, but I hope it touches a chord.