Marble plaque, cold and grey,
just like the day
many of them fell;
stumbling wet through sticky mud,
heavy-laden with rifle and fear,
walking – as per the orders barked by a sergeant –
into the mouths of snarling machine guns.
Marble plaque, granite-cold and grey,
holding chiselled in its heart,
all the names, so many names,
the litany of names
of those this small village gave
to that corner of a foreign field,
forever now an English grave.
Marble plaque, old and cold and grey,
yet warming hearts in remembrance
of those young lives, given for this nation.
We honour them this year of commemoration
in poppy-seeds, silence, song and prayer;
we honour them best by going to war against war.