Posted by Admin on 7 June 2009, 12:00 am

I could not on that day in May
delete from memory the scenes
I’d witnessed many years before
when, lured by martial music and
the sound of marching men, I’d cheered
them onward to their doom – to death
in Flanders and in France.
Nor could I then forget that wet
November day when I, a boy
of eight, with Union Jack in hand,
exulted in the Kaiser’s fall –
defeat we celebrated with
cheap pennants strung across our front
façade – twelve triangles in which
the colours ran, as if with tears
they mourned the Empire’s dead.

And so the sight of bunting hung
again, this time to decorate
a rural place of refuge, not
our newly built and much-bombed home,
inevitably registered a sense
of déjà vu.
Amid the sound of pealing bells
we climbed, the Rector, Dad, and I,
to stand where pinnacles adorned
the tower’s top – surveyed the coast
now threatened only by the careless sea.
It should have been a day of joy,
but victory, too long deferred,
conduced to no ecstatic state,
and war-strained nerves refused to play
the relaxation game – created yet
another hell in place of that now gone.

Of course, we thanked Almighty God
that we, as then we thought, were free
from Nazidom’s dictator and
all evil tyrannies.
That night we toasted Russia – drank
to USA – foresaw no time
when those two e’er would stand, in mutual
fear, at bay – naively thought
of world-wide peace; a hope which now
we’ve learnt may never be fulfilled.

T. C. Hudson
© T. C. Hudson.

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