Lyssenthoek revisited
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.

Bertin Deneire

Source: Artistiek Tijdschrift Ambrozijn, 37th year, number 3, 2019-2020, pages 44-45

Published 20/12/2019