Well, here we are, waiting in the mild sunshine, the clouds scudding past from the south undecided—rain, or just passing through—for the sirens to sound and possibly the church bell to ring if they can find anyone to do it. The grass is golden in the sun, lush and green beneath the morning light, and the sky is blue. Trees dance, oaks hanging onto their greenery, the poplars tossing gold largesse of leaves. And when the sirens sound the eleventh minute, and some chasseur can’t restrain his trigger finger, and the bells finish pealing, and we all speak again with voices full of relief, what then? Another war over, a new one just begun, because, to paraphrase the song, those who don’t want it, don’t count.
We’re in the big build up to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice in 1918. This triolet came out as a small tribute, and was inspired by Paul Militaru’s lovely photo. Thank you, Paul for letting me borrow it.
Red, red the poppies blow,
In the fields where the headstones grow,
White and pure as fallen snow,
That mark the place where the dead men go.
And have we learned from all these dead,
The stolen youth, the family head,
The terror blind, the slaughter red,
The hearts abroken, the life’s blood bled?
When I can see a poppy field,
And the deep, rich earth in spring revealed,
Where men have only a plough to wield,
I’ll know the broken world is healed.