Friday 8th August 2014 @ 12:00 by Anna Fletcher
Poet's Corner

quill (2)

Before I close my eyes at last, before I close my eyes
Just let me see the poppies bloom beneath the cobalt skies.
Just let me see the poppies blow the way they did in France
When all of us were young, before the Sergeant said “Advance”.
Before they sent us into Hell, before we left the trenches.
Before I saw them as they fell and had to tell their wenches.

Just let me see the poppies bloom like blood behind the eyes
The way my comrades saw them, vivid red against the skies,
And on that wave of scarlet I will follow where they led
And seventy-odd years later I will join the Glorious Dead.

They marched away without me up to Heaven, some folks said
But all I knew was I was left while all my friends were dead.
We went ‘Out There’ as Comrades and we swore we would be true.
So let me see the poppies bloom against that azure blue
Of sky, the last thing that they saw before they went to sleep
Beneath the mud of Flanders, and my promise I will keep.

I know that they are waiting as they’ve waited many a year.
I tried to live them all their lives when I was left down here.
I tried to live for Billy, for Alf and Fred and Joe,
Do all the things they’d never do. I’ve done them. I can go.

Behind my eyes I see them, young and eager in the gloom.
I’m just waiting for the poppies. Let me see the poppies bloom.

Pat Ellison-Reed.