By Paul Cantrell of Lincolnshire Live Poets’ Society
A soldier solitary and cold astride the agonies of old,
Upon the cenotaph he stood as on a rampart stiff with blood,
Frowns on the poppies at the wall, saluting those who chose to fall for freedom...
Douglas H McCreevey, John Plant, Eric Swale, Harry James,
Phillip Rollins, Archie Pearson...
Men of mourning names that liveth...
Jolly John C Kinsey-Smith, old Henry Arnott, Arthur Dodd
Now crumble under unknown sod.
Oh God, who dies if England lives,
Who stands if freedom falls;
Indictment of all living men shouts out from granite wall.
No voice, the eyeless lad from home
Now doomed to verdigris,
Holds to his hallowed .303;
His lips are set, cheeks rocked in death,
Grave-gaping mouth gasps at the breath-defying air.
His pack and pouches, world-worn boots,
Like mouldy puddings buried with himself;
His helmet tossed back cocksure yet uncertain...
Here is the spectre of a slaughtered race;
His face is spent, so carelessly he poses,
Inevitably food for roses.