On ‘Poppy Day’ – I kid you not –
I saw a blue forget-me-not;
And walking, wondered at the reason
That here miraculous it blew:
A yellow sun amongst such blue
Petals lonely, out of season.
That ghosted flower left behind
Now flutters each year in my mind.
Once war knew well each season’s place –
Spring offensive, winter ceasefire:
Humans gave it a natural face
To hide the bending of our nature.
So many flowers, many fields.
The mind thinks on, yet what’s not healed ’s
Reminder to us still of debts
We owe to others here no longer;
Knowledge that gnaws at our regrets
And sense of sacrifice the stronger
Felt in each new generation:
The men and women that live on
In our remembrance, whose lots
Went horror-humbling to make us wise;
Who died red poppy deaths yet rise
As thoughts of blue forget-me-nots.
Poet Laureate for Bournemouth
A poem written for Remembrance Day 2014
and to commemorate the centenary of the First World War