Remembrance Day in Australia; Veteran's Day for some folks elsewhere.
Few now alive have any memory of the First World War and its terrible
cost, and a rapidly decreasing number have memories of the Second
World War. It's not just the soldiers who fought who should be
remembered. I think of my mother who, greatly pregnant, battled
through a gaggle of geese to climb a fire tower daily to watch the
skies for enemy planes which never came, but that doesn't diminish
her offering. I wrote the following just after her passing; it seems
hundred years of Pilgrim bones
here among the lichened stones.
a boy soldier, dead in the morning
a life that ended with little warning;
a young wife and her babe of two days,
cleaving to bone in the soil’s dark embrace.
my grandsire, beside him his wife,
a tiny cousin who never knew life.
my mother now lies among,
measure ended, a cut-off song
a life untrumpeted, quiet and strong.
world is reflected upon this hill
the grey sky that mirrors still
generations, long dead and silent
sleep in death's deep and mossy salient.