Forgotten fields give birth in blood,
scarlet reaches high, as monkish hood,
reminders of the truth of hidden death,
memories of sudden, full stopped breath,
as stone remembers flesh as earthly food.
Cast corpses on the breast of bitter day,
chewed slow through mud and icy rain,
they gather in the darkened halls of youth;
the years denied.
Time does hold the brush forever high,
the colours fade, the paint does slowly dry,
and only in the stories can they live,
the gift which grief and hope will always give!
Light steps upon the terraces of war;
the sacrifice is honoured evermore.
Those flattened fields of Flanders
scream of battered souls
and muffled howls which pressed
beneath time’s tread has crushed
the cry of hurt beneath firm soil.
The heaving shape of shouldered pain
is locked by grasses -green terrain,
which grips and holds imprisoned fast,
the rotted world which once had passed:
in steady tread and huddled roar,
a raging spread of weeping sore.
The silence now holds heavy court
upon the place where thousands fought
and died with no-one there to see
them sucked beneath the seething sea;
a muddy grave which beckons still
with glutinous grin alive and well
beneath the veil of fragile green.
1988 – following a visit to the ‘trenches in Ypres.