Lest We Forget

A reverential crowd
Had gathered
Watching solemnly
As the parade of soldiers
Came marching by
A remembrance day for those
Who had once fought
Or died
In the name of freedom
The rain coming down hard
On the decorated city square
Soaking the military emblems
And funereal wreaths laying
Against the podium
The raindrops beading up
On the lapel
Of her best jacket, where
A single red felt poppy
The colour of blood
Was obligatorily displayed
Its dangling precariously
At her breast, as her memories
Of unimaginable tragedy
Flowed into the silence
And into her head
Forcing her once again
To recall the innocence
Of her childhood, lost in the war
And to remember the men
In her family who went missing
Just a few of the many heroes
Whose selfless sacrifice
Became the heavy price
And the punishment
Of her own survival
Homeless, fatherless
And haunted with guilt
For every year thereafter
The tiny steel pin securing
Her poppy flower in place
Deeply symbolic
Its piercing the fabric
Like a dagger
Through her heart
As she relived
The unspeakable sorrow
And abject horrors
Of that war
One tiny little moment
Of absolute silence
In a respectful ceremony
That was almost more
Than she could handle
But, nevertheless
Attended dutifully
Every eleventh of November
Her wondering shamefully
If the ironic words
“Lest we forget”
Annoyed anyone else
From her dying generation
And whether, any of them
Also lived the way she did
Forever pushing aside
The unforgettable grief
Of a scarred life of freedom
An endless sadness
That lurked in the shadows
And was constantly resurfacing
With the bad news
On the television
The images of war, still
Sometimes frightening her
In the dark
Because for her, forgetting
Was an impossibility
Making Remembrance Day
A day of mourning
A day when she would
Don that little red poppy
And formally revisit the dead
Recalling all too intimately
The blood that was shed
In so many families
A silent old lady
Who stood alone
With her thoughts
Protected from the terror
Of her personal life history
By the crowd of onlookers
And all the happy children
That surrounded her there
In the city square
On that one day every year
In November, when
She let herself cry
And remembered


One Comment

  • EmilGMahnken commented on October 7, 2016

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

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