Poppy Wreath

By Carole Dennett Nov 8, 2020

Seeing these poppies
she thinks of a quiet corner of a foreign field,
wild poppies and fragments of dark slate,
white bones of a song bird, or
maybe fallen men.
A spent shell risen. A rusted gun plate.
Huge rolled tangles of barbed wire
marking trenches on that drawn out line
and mere boys alive beside long buried men.
Dripping oil, the smell of fire and fear,
called up, and volunteer.
Horses. Screaming. Squelching mud,
and gunfire round.
Boots biting deep into that ground,
leaving pale thin scar, and more,
a sign it might be where
he fell.
Now these poppies glisten scarlet in the sun.
He was his country’s man and King’s.
Like a cross she bears his name.
Coming here, the cenotaph,
listening to young voices
generations on, so strong and clear,
for her these flowers still bloom in bright blood red
and though he’s long dead, she cares.
She holds the line.
She’s glad she came. She knows
he’s here.

by Felicity Fair Thompson