POPPY DAY


Newly returned from Helmand, almost intact,

the Regiment stands to in scattered rain.

City dignatories and citizen privates

remember. They sing: ‘Where, Grave, thy victory?’

The Bishop blesses them all. A boy whimpers.

 

Old men, straight-backed, march singly into town,

medals jingling like choices. November wind

troubles the eye: remembering mates,

remembering merely being young, not dead

merely. This is a willing grief: forgetting

means that, for principle or custom,

death is merely dying, and the so-called

blood and treasure contract merely words.

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