Posts Tagged ‘remember’


Despite mums best efforts money became increasingly tight and we started to get behind with the bills. I think we kept on top of the rent but I know for certain that we got behind with the gas and electric because we had it cut off. Two men came round to do the job, one in an overcoat and bowler hat who looked the stereotypical enforcement officer of the time, the other stayed outside keeping watch. Everybody on the street much have known what was happening. No gas and electric meant no fire, no TV, no lights, no cooking. Everything we take for granted now and to a certain extent did then was gone in seconds and would not be restored until the arrears had been paid. We huddled round a coal fire watching it go from a blaze to a pile of smouldering embers. The TV was replaced by a battery powered portable radio. Lighting was done by paraffin lamps carefully placed around the house to ensure they could not be knocked over potentially causing a fire. My mum cooked on the coal fire pans of vegetables and potatoes and I can only assume we had some meat. I always marvelled at how my mum could prepare and cook a meal to perfection with everything coming together at once. It was even more remarkable how she did it during this period swapping pans of food on the coal fire but still making a lovely meal for us all. I can’t remember how long it was before we had the gas and electric restored but I do remember one lad from school asking if he could come to my house and me having to say no. I instinctively said no and instinctively felt shameful for saying no and for not being able to say why I said no. I don’t think I fully understood why I was saying no or why I felt ashamed at the time but I knew deep down it was the only thing to say. We kept living in the house but I can imagine that was only just. Things were so tight during those times and no one helped us.


the valley of my memories that started from a

single pipe, too dark to see beyond its mouth

too small to climb in and explore its stomach as it

spewed forth its watery contents

 

into the valley of my childhood

always moving fast in the same direction

through parts narrow and parts wide

as the sides of the valley rose and fell

 

running with the stream as

we played in its bowels

day after day after day

as the sunshine warmed wet pebbles

 

where it never rained or snowed

so we could build dens to hide in

as friends ran by seeking us

pretending to be brave soldiers

 

leaping over the narrow parts and

jumping from the highs to the lows

flying through the air like

peter pan, if only for a second

 

landing in a heap on stones

that cut and grazed our knees

our only scars of war

this was as brave as we got

 

and then the valley ended

disappearing into a tunnel

one we could crawl into

see into, no secrets in here

 

and we got through to the other side

to a dark place we did not recognise

this was not our playground

we did not belong here

 

so we would turn around and leave

this desolate place behind and

return to our valley, the valley

of a never ending childhood

© Andrew Smith 2014


It’s not often I write a poem for an occasion but this Remembrance Sunday is a very special day because it is 100 years since the start of World War 1. I have written a poem to commemorate all the soldier’s who fought in WW1 and all subsequent wars too. I hope you get something from it.

a memory

she watches the service dress tunic

about turn and march away

to a foreign land of

mud and rain

blood and sweat

death and destruction

 

but also of friendships forged

as steel and iron surround them

of comrades in arms

building an imbreachable wall

of colleagues together

in life, in death

 

and she hopes that

the man she loves

inside that uniform

returns one day

 

to hold her

to hug her

to kiss her

to love her

 

that the back of a

smart khaki uniform

the back of a

shiny army helmet

the back of a

perfect haircut

 

is not the last she sees of him

is not her final memory of him

is not the ending that lies latent

in her fearful heart

 

and now he’s gone

an empty street

a soundless world

stillness lies on stillness

as a life without meaning

absorbs her soul

and the earth spins today

but time lulls to and fro

as each opening year

brings a dense realisation

that the one man she loved

is gone

 

forever

never to hug

never to kiss

never to love

lost in a field in Belgium

where poppies grow

 

and the woman

clutches the hand

of the little girl

and passes her a picture

of a handsome young man

in a smart army uniform

 

take this Alice

and pass it on

down the ages

so that generations

can remember him

the man who gave his life

 

so we may live in hope

of a world survived

of a future restored

keep the memory of

your granddad alive

your grandma’s one and only true love

 

he may be absent in body

but he’s never forgotten in spirit

in our hearts, our minds, our souls

he lives on

in a poppy field in Belgium

he lives on

 

and as the last post plays

he lives on

with thousands and thousands

of courageous men

who gave their lives

so we have ours

 

 

but also of friendships forged

as steel and iron surround them

of comrades in arms

building an imbreachable wall

of colleagues together

in life, in death

 

and she hopes that

the man she loves

inside that uniform

returns one day

 

to hold her

to hug her

to kiss her

to love her

 

that the back of a

smart khaki uniform

the back of a

shiny army helmet

the back of a

perfect haircut

 

is not the last she sees of him

is not her final memory of him

is not the ending that lies latent

in her fearful heart

 

and now he’s gone

an empty street

a soundless world

stillness lies on stillness

as a life without meaning

absorbs her soul

and the earth spins today

but time lulls to and fro

as each opening year

brings a dense realisation

that the one man she loved

is gone

 

forever

never to hug

never to kiss

never to love

lost in a field in Belgium

where poppies grow

 

and the woman

clutches the hand

of the little girl

and passes her a picture

of a handsome young man

in a smart army uniform

 

take this Alice

and pass it on

down the ages

so that generations

can remember him

the man who gave his life

 

so we may live in hope

of a world survived

of a future restored

keep the memory of

your granddad alive

your grandma’s one and only true love

 

he may be absent in body

but he’s never forgotten in spirit

in our hearts, our minds, our souls

he lives on

in a poppy field in Belgium

he lives on

 

and as the last post plays

he lives on

with thousands and thousands

of courageous men

who gave their lives

so we have ours