Eleventh hour


Such a light
and such a crystal-dripping mist,
rising sun-kissed,
pale gold and silver green the sheen
of this morning world,

silence of birdsong and
dry leaves falling, weighted down by dew.

and we bow our heads, thinking we remember,
dredging up a vague abstraction of tears
for men we never knew,
but knowing we ought to weep.

We bow our heads and manage not to hear
the guns of leisure, still killing,
still having their cruel fun.

Instead, Sacrifice, we say sagely in solemn tones,
gave their lives so we might live in freedom.

A silent war rages now
with no conscription,
no grave consequence for objectors,
the orders simple, just stay at home.
Our sacrifice.
And even this we refuse.

The weeping I hear fills my heart;
It comes from those endless rows
of endless dead, the men
who never had the choice.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

15 thoughts on “Eleventh hour”

    1. I’m glad you think so. Thinking about the Armistice, what it meant and what had gone before, I can never stomach the theatrical outpourings, if we don’t shower the town with 20 million poppies we don’t care, type of thing. Fact is, we still go on killing, and we still pretend that those millions and millions of men who were butchered, sacrificed themselves for our ‘freedom’. It should be enough to deplore their deaths. Looking at the use we’ve made of our ‘freedom’ we should be ashamed of ourselves.

  1. I always wonder why all those people so fond of guns don’t enlist and see what weapons are really about. There are plenty of wars in the world for them to choose from.. Instead, as you say, they choose to spend the freedom they have that others died for waving their weapons around at people who are trying to keep them alive by wearing masks and killing animals for “sport”. (K)

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