My grandmother’s house was full of pretty and mysterious things, coloured glass, silver and brass, lace and slightly faded watercolours. There was never a speck of dust, and each pretty object sat in the same place, catching light in the same way every day. I envied that she was able to surround herself with such carefully chosen beauty with no clumsy, disrespectful brothers and sisters to disturb it. It was only later, after her death, that I recalled the way she would stare into the garden, seeing nothing of her pretty objects. All she had ever wanted was Granddad.
In the north, in Flanders, where the earth is deep
Are the golden fields where the mud was red
And beneath the crosses hospital white
Lie the broken bones of a million dead.
Now in the flat lands poppies blow
Around the fields where the grain grows high
And a million dreams that flutter still
When the poplar leaves in the north wind sigh.
Dreams of love and life and home
Of a vanished world once full of light
Blow with the breeze and rise with the lark
Dance in the rain running crystal bright.
Over the flat lands the wind from the sea
Sighs through the poplars as it ever has done
Stirring the blood in the deep rich earth
And the dreams of the dead so they dance in the sun.
Now that the din and the dying’s all done
And there are no words left that have not been said
The lark in the high sky still sings its sweet song
And the fields full of poppies remember the dead.
That stick behind my eyes
Like broken glass
Sharp and vicious
As the day they were made.
Beneath its spiral of froth
And your face
The absence in your eyes
Already thinking of something else.
Eyes fixed on the frothy spiral
And the closing door.
The happiness and the hurt
The awful waste of a love
Would drown me
In a sea of sorrow.