On Armistice Day

On Armistice Day –  remembering those for whom it  came too late – and their families, for whom life was never the same…

 

Night Flight

 

Lord, I’m not yet twenty,

My brother only twenty-three;

if one of us must die tonight

let it not be he!

Or me…

 

Yet there the crescent moon

rising gold above the land

cradles the ghost of another;

one reborn, one dying

in the arms of a brother,

a sign of things to be..?

 

He led me by the hand

once when lost and small. I understand

the call for sons, while grieving mothers

listen to our planes climb high,

and fathers pace – and loving others;

my girl who kissed me, smiling still.

I promised to come back. Some day I will.

 

But not tonight. The woods below

are where my pup and I grew up. We owe

that old dog, whining in his sleep

our childhood days. Three pairs of eyes

on silver moving in the stream.

What does he dream?

Do owls still keep

the twilight watch below?

I see our fields are white with snow.

But dark shadows now streak by…

 

Keep them both safe, Lord;

let them go free.

If one must go, take me.

 

***                   Amy Brooke

 

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

Perhaps in the end
they didn’t mind dying so much;
but wouldn’t you, just twenty-two?

You, worn out, sleeping only fitfully,
a trench bed of muddy clay and water,
soaked to the skin, propped up on sandbags –
pyjamas, man? You’ve worn the same clothes
for weeks, filthy, smelling, depressed
by dysentery, a fortnight’s rain on and off
and on…thinking before dawn of home…

longing in this surrealistic world
of dirt and damp and hunger, the horror
of good mates hanging over barbed wire,
a head joined only to a helmet…

to see them all once more, and say
the things you wished you’d said before.

You say them now, or scribble them down,
think their world might yet be saved
if enough, tough men like you are trying
hard to be, lie awake at night
and think of them, and fight and kill
others trapped like you – to keep them free.

You wanted once so much to live!

But now you say – For them – what’s meant to be…
for them and for theirs – things undone – forgive?
I fought for things enduring. Oh, remember me!

Amy Brooke