So I've got through the first working week and I'm really enjoying the sense of community and challenge. I have no idea where this one came from but I'm very pleased with it.
It was a simple grave,
garlanded with two lengths
of splintered oak
we hoped would speak of England.
This Tommy, actually called Tommy
would joke no more
when scared witless and shitless
by another whistle of airborne death.
“You’re the one they’re firing at”
we said to keep him sane.
Well now they’d got him,
perhaps we could all pack our bloody bags.
Covered in foreign soil, tears and sweat
we couldn’t bring ourselves to pray,
and the King
could save himself today.
We split his rations,
found the letters we promised to post
that would bittersweet Christmas
and those to come.
We drew straws for his hipflask
then all took a nip.
We didn’t mourn his passing but
the life he’d never have.
We pledged to see his Mother
and speak well of him;
it seemed a fitting penance
for getting out alive.
It was just me in the end.
Tea in the best china
one Sunday in
that saddest Spring.
and couldn’t find the words to tell her
it was because her table
was made of oak.