The annual poppy symbols flaunt
Gratitude pride will not vaunt
I leave the cenotaph,
The unctuous adulation of the cleric;
I crave sea-silences, to laugh,
Or to be sick!
Here, between tide and tide,
In the place of dead men's bones,
Here, where the grey gulls glide
And the wind moans;
With weed-cerements, green bands,
In pools of the ebb-tide flow,
With froth of spume on wetted sands
Drift-water, reveal the wrack
And the wreckage of wars;
Outward go, then, inevitably back,
While I pause
To remember them, laughing, young,
Remember the tales they told,
The lewd jokes, the songs that were sung,
To remember the pubs, the dances, the drink,
(Left, but a little time),
The women, seduced with a wink
And a gin and lime!
To recall the clean, boy-faces, so resigned
On embarkation day;
The saddened girls whom they left behind
In the family way!
But not the blood of battles, the stench,
And the screaming fears;
Not the grovelling down in a shallow trench,
Or the tears;
Nor even the sight of the steel-torn guts
And the mangled limbs....
Nor the Church Parade behind Nisson huts
And how they prayed as the Padre prayed
For the Proven Cause;
Proud, perhaps, of the part they played....
And I pause
Here, with the spume-flecked waves
Of the endless tide,
To forget the rows of regimented graves
Where brave men died.
born on day British won famous battle in Belgian town of Namur WWI,
volunteered for British Expeditionary Force WWII,
evacuated from Dunkirk
subsequently stationed in the Falklands)
for king & country?
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