Lining up for Armistice Day Parade the old soldiers missed their mates
Chalky, Curly, Lofty, Tiny and Bill.
There were spaces left which they would once have filled.
The members of the Band of Brothers stood together
Shoulder to Shoulder, fighting shadows once again.
The years between then and now have gone –
But the shadows remain, haunting their dreams.
At night they toss and turn, hearing the whistling of shells,
Smelling the acrid smell of cordite and mustard gas
Floating on the breeze.
“My eyes! My eyes!” The screams of dying and blinded men
Follow the living down the years, and the night-time screams
Of these living men echo through eternity
As they beg their God to take the pain away,
Take the war away.
The bugle sounds and poppies petals fall,
Turning the ground red as blood
As the old soldiers salute in silence
Then march away, carrying their silence
To the grave.