John-Ward Leighton


They have slipped away
to join those boys of yesterday
buried in the mud of Europe, Korea and Hong Kong
under all those headstones row on row.

Yesterdays parade, as the Afghanistan young have joined the old, of World War Two,
Korea, Viet Nam, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq one
in the collective insanity that is war as the survivors of World War One,
the war to end all wars, have disappeared from the scene.

We disperse them now in family gravesites
finally too ashamed at the folly of the wars
to have large farms of head stones marking the collective idiocy
that war is.

We see current politicians, none of whom have served,
paying lip service in their respect for those sent
to serve in the magnifying lens of harm
hoping that if something goes wrong that the result is fatal.

The Insurance attitude towards the surviving wounded
with lump sum payments definitely not up to the mark
as the bureaucracy binds the wounded veterans
in a miasma of red tape and delays.

Be that as it may
my father, a World War One and Two Veteran,
passed on in 1970 and now his comrades have all
slipped over the edge of memory.

The brave and sorrowful pronouncements,
the singing of hymns, the reading of poems,
of the Eleventh of November, our two minutes of silence,
quickly forgotten on the Twelfth.

The talk of the inconvenience of shoppers
crossing the border for bargains
being the news of the morning: heavens, a four-hour wait,
yesterday’s parades and rhetoric quickly forgotten.

Perhaps we are all captured in the consumer web of ‘shut-up-and-buy’
to do anything substantial for peace, as the members
and victims of our previous follies are rapidly
slipping over the edge of memory.

Author’s Note: We had easily 50,000 out for our [Remembrance Day] Ceremony yesterday, and four-hour waits for the ‘shut-up-and-buy’ crowd at the border for bargain shopping.

John-Ward Leighton: Slipping Over The Edge Of MemoryJohn-Ward Leighton: Slipping Over The Edge Of Memory

Photos ©Copyright 2010 by John-Ward Leighton