A vast expanse of headstoned graves,
the place we’d stop to take a rest.
Refreshed by weeping willow waves
I walked - a lad - in Sunday best.
My dad and I - we passed each plot;
he’d point to where the skylarks sing
and speak of soldiers and their lot,
of Mercer, Snaddon, brothers King.
All left their parents or their wives;
so many names - to me - unknown
to pay for freedom with their lives,
and now they sleep in grass fresh-mown.
Sometimes it seems as if they speak;
I hear them asking why they died.
For answers is what they too seek
and why they had their lives denied.
Today I show the pilgrims round;
like me, all wonder how they fell.
I tell their stories, what we’ve found,
as none survived this fighting hell.
And yet, for all I’ve come to know,
- however much it means to me -
I gaze upon the umpteenth row
and think - whoever could they be?
Long after we have left this earth
their headstones still will stand.
So too their efforts and their worth
recalled beyond their loving land.
Source: Artistiek Tijdschrift Ambrozijn, 37th year, number 3, 2019-2020, pages 44-45