Still here !


I walked slowly,

‘cross coiffured grass,

climbed a gentle slope.

I had not visited him before,

was not sure,

could I cope?


I knew that he was waiting there,

together, with some mates,

silently I opened,

a metal, picket gate.


A few stone steps,

a gentle climb,

no whistles blowing shrill,

In this quiet and gentle place

in the lee, of this, now,

sacred, hallowed hill.


There seemed to be so many here,

resting, in the sun.

And there he waited,

as he had done, for close on 80 year.

A man, whom I’d never known,

but who my Gran and Dad hold dear.


All smartly there, on parade,

starched white and all in line,

red roses in a garden,

the whole place looked sublime.

An English country garden,

in this field in France,

where once,

so many years before,

death and poppies danced.

200 men, or thereabouts

sleeping for all time.

British and some Germans

holding straight, the line.


I stood there, head bowed,

what to say,

in this peace filled place,

and realised, as I stood silently,

that tears ran down my face.


The sun shone brightly in the sky

a gentle cooling breeze,

as I sank slowly down,

to pray there, on my knees.

The wooden cross, with poppy red,

I planted there that day

a simple loving gesture

that just tried to say,


‘Thank you boys’,

for what we have,

for what you gave away,

that precious gift of life,

and your very own ‘today’.


© david holmes february 2012



I wrote this poem especially for the March 2012 CWGC news letter . As a result of it appearing in that news letter not only did I receive some wonderful feedback and many hits to my web site , I also received a request from a WW2 veteran from New Zealand asking if they could use my poem at their 2012 NZ Anzac day service, a request I was proud and humbled to agree to.



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