The TV presenter speaks of ‘sacrifice’.
She is al fresco on a purple sofa
with puce cushions. In the middle ground
are dignitaries, veterans, and a band.
Beyond are the War Graves Commission’s white ranks
of the British dead from Sword and Gold.
Only one speaker – beret, blazer, medals,
a RN signaller on a landing craft –
comes close to hinting that no one chose
to be a sacrifice. His speech is short,
even appropriately amusing,
and delivered unwaveringly
until the phrase, ‘My abiding memory’.
He halts, overcome – then repeats the words:
and, for the untold time, becomes a helpless
witness. The young squaddies he had joked with –
moments before the ramp clattered down –
were dead, floating with the tide toward the sand.