Ann-Marie Spittle

TO THE FEW

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: July 18, 2005
Awarded: July 18, 2005
Heads bent solemnly in remembrance
As the prayers of thanks are read
Those here have walked the byways of the dead
And have brought tales for the young
That death may not visit them so easily
Seas of faces that should be so much more
Line the walkway of the monarch
Who has stood with them since youth
And still stands now
As they do
Hymns lace the air
And many fly with the notes
Scenes pass before their eyes for a moment
Then are gone
As they pull themselves forward to the now
As the last post echoes through the hills
Of lands that have been torn, or part of war
And the tears roll out of the buglers mouth
And join the tracks on the faces of the few
And then silence

Silent contemplation

Then reveille
And the remembrance that life follows death
And will for all time

But not all is black this day
For happy times are shared
Of battles fought
And friends met once again
Who many thought had gone long ago

Songs of their time are re-enacted
And Churchill lives again through the actor’s art
And many return to those speeches
And remember their resolve in those dark days

Fluttering butterfly wings of banners
Carried by those once arthritic
Have made the final push to stand and be counted
Marching to the songs of their lands
Men stand to see them pass
Though regiments that held their names
Have gone into histories archives

Then the march to end all marches
As the warriors of old give it their all
As if their youth had revisited them
And the streets are lined with the grateful
And those who came for their own reasons
And the waves follow them
Lapping gently at their heels
Until every space is filled outside the place of Royalty
And then the beast of war awakens
And flies over as it did in the days of need
Red petals cascade upon the watchers
And a nation’s heart opens
Filling the air
And says thank you

Author’s Note: Written after the D-Day 60th Anniversary Parade in London, July 10, 2005