Pictorial blethers

By blethers

Thinking of the Somme

The sunset on Remembrance Day was vivid, shining on the windows on the other side of the Clyde so that they looked lit up - rows of them, gleaming across the water. 'Keep the home fires burning' slipped into my mind, for you might have thought these homes were indeed burning. But then I recalled the week I spent visiting the battlefields and graveyards of the Somme, and how I wondered how I felt about the song sheets given out on the bus - the words of the songs the Tommies sang as they marched to war or sat in wretched dug-outs trying to keep their spirits up. I thought perhaps our singing the same songs was somehow disrespectful - and then this poem came to me...


The old songs echo over
undulating ground where once
shells fell. The voices too
are old, for those who
sang them new are
dead, long cold in
narrow graves. The warm air
blows the acrid scent 
of golden rape, appropriately 
blanketing the fields of war.
Solemnity and laughter seem
uneasy fellows till we think
of youth and daftness and sheer joy
cut down, silenced, gone – and know
that they would smile to hear us sing.
Is there an echo on the wind?
Perhaps. Sing on. Shed tears and play
your last posts where the singers sleep.

C.M.M. 05/09

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