short fall

“…thinking of a gallant multitude/ Which now all withering lay/ Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay” 
Margaret Postgate Cole’s “Falling Leaves

And we who memorialize these many moons hereafter
may never picture  all the manifold contrasts
gallants marching as multitudes
soldier sweethearts in subdued song
and on to landscapes levelled and pocked
craters of skin and bone

in the space of two silent minutes
there is time enough to sign the letter home
to post orders from afar
the shell is airborne
limbs are torn from limbs
and gas creeps like a lovely ghost

but let us not plaster these dread deeds
in platitudes nor pick the bones as afterthought
parodying pacifism with pale trembling doves
universal Agape mouthed in hands across the water
war and peace are the seasons of our world
I pray always for a short fall

A poem for Remembrance Sunday where I’m joining others at Poetry Pantry