GO DOWN FIGHTING

 

He fought for his country

He fought for the truth

He fought back his fears

He fought with his youth

 

He fought back his tears

With thoughts of his wife

On the battlefield bleeding

He fought for his life

A CHILD’S VIEW

On the big dresser in the parlour at my grandparents.

We believed we could

hear the sea

from the conch shell

held to our ears

We believed we could

see Jerusalem

in the peep hole squint

of the pepper-pot

 

We believed

we were in Africa

as we stroked

the ornamental elephant

 

We stared at two men

in the sepia frame

One standing bold

One sitting bath-chair bound

 

“Tipperary” we said

As we heard the gramophone’s

Cracked up voice of that

Old Marching Song.

 

Our eyes then fell upon

A different shell

Too heavy to hold

Stone cold

 

“Leave it alone”

He said.

 

A BOY’S GAME

 

Do or dare?

A call for the brave

To climb

The steps of fire

Wired-up brain

Spot-the-ball

Only a kick-about

Cries of joy

On this barren pitch

 

 

 

 

TOO SOON

Poppies flopping over the

churchyard wall.

Lolling lobes spreading

drowsy cups

of crimson.

Tea black centres

falling

in the noonday

sun.

Meg Pybus. Centenary of the First Day of the Somme, July 1st

 

 

THE SONG OF THE SHELL

 

No faraway call of the sea

Joy to my ears

The Sirens’ song.

 

This hushed dead-weight

Metal cone,

The nose of a shell.

 

From the Somme it rose

Tombed in sleep

This Picardy bomb.

 

No seaside souvenir

Stone-deaf ears.

No waves,

From a Flanders field.

 

Meg Pybus. June 2002