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for Alan Horne


They seldom mentioned it and never

to the boys at the town’s Grammar School,

thinking they might mock it as vain-glory –

or just mock it, with their disregard

for school uniform, their penchant for

RAF great coats and graffited knapsacks,

their puzzlement on Remembrance Day,

and the Vietnam War flickering nightly.


It was usually only as an apt

aside, at break or dinner time, to those

of us young enough to be their sons,

about a colleague: Edward at Tobruk,

André a Japanese POW,

Ken at Dunkirk, Bernard the navigator

in a Mosquito, John on Sword Beach…




© Copyright David Selzer
3 Responses
  • Alan Horne
    December 2, 2016

    Thanks for the dedication, David. I like the idea that, if we didn’t mock recollections of the war as vain-glory, we’d just mock them anyway! It’s good to have a memorial to those old guys. Some of them had really been around!

  • David Selzer
    December 4, 2016

    You helped me shape the poem, Alan, and make it the proper, unsentimental remembrance I wanted it to be – so the dedication is my thanks.

    Those colleagues who’d seen frontline active service wouldn’t have thought of themselves as a ‘band of brothers’ but they were. They intuitively looked out for each other.

  • John Huddart
    December 6, 2016

    The list of heroes and their presence at all those places and locations is eloquence enough. I like the almost wished for thought of you in a Mosquito. Such dreams.

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