Where the Poppies Are

Seeing these poppies
she thinks of a quiet corner of a field,
wild poppies and fragments of dark slate,
white bones of a song bird, or
maybe more.
Them all. Him.
A spent shell risen. A rusted gun plate.
Huge rolled tangles of barbed wire
marking trenches on that drawn out line
and lives lived beside already buried men.
Dripping oil, and smell of fire and fear,
called up young men, and volunteer.
Horses. Screaming. Squelching mud,
and gunfire round.
Boots biting deep into that ground,
leaving pale thin scar,
and more over there.
A sign it might be where
he fell.
These poppies glisten in the London sun.
He was his country’s man and King’s.
Like a cross she bears his name.
Coming here, the Tower,
listening to young voices
generations on, so strong and clear,
for her this flower field blooms in bright blood red
and though he’s long dead, she cares.
She holds the line.
She’s glad she came. She knows
he’s here.

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National Poetry Day on the beautiful Isle of Wight

This poem of mine appears on a brass plaque near the country bus stop overlooking…

BLEAK DOWN

Who called this Down, Bleak?
What eye berated
these grey green undulating fields,
the dips and falls of country sweeping out?
Trail the Yar river springing
near the parish church in Niton.
Pass farms like Lavender, Eastview,
Appleford and Bridge
and see not bleak but bountiful.
Not the dark overhang of Bagwich Lane,
but bright gold God-given gorse and
blue sky. And at night,
not interrupting town light,
but stars.

Felicity Fair Thompson