Sunday, 19 February 2012


Illustration by Paul Nash

My Darling Wife,
I looked in on you the other night
while you were sleeping, and
I almost convinced myself
that I was home for good
and could simply climb
into bed beside you and
hold you close, just like
before the war.
But something wasn't right.
It was as if my vision
was partially obscured
by a muslin curtain, and
you looked older than I remembered.
Much older - an illusion created, no doubt,
by the moonlight shadows
slanting across the room.
I reached out to touch you,
but encountered only empty space
where you were lying.
I was so afraid, my Darling,
that I rushed back here
to this mud and misery
that has become my prison.
And I know it sounds soft, but
I hid my face and wept.

I have been so lonely here
since you stopped writing, my Darling.
That's why I had to see you, to
make sure you are alright
and that I hadn't upset you
by some thoughtless words
I may have inadvertently written.
Perhaps you may even have been
suffering the agonies of believing
that I had been killed.
I was in the place where
a massive shell exploded.
Yet, my Darling, by some miracle
I'm still here!
I tried to tell the medics,
but they ignored me.
I suppose they were too busy
collecting and bagging severed limbs
and other body parts to bother
with myself and the handful
of other uninjured survivors who
were wandering around in a daze.
I watched them collecting belongings
to box up and send home
to relatives.
They had my tobacco tin and
my photo of you. It was
splattered with blood, but
I saw your beautiful face, my Darling.
That was the only part
untouched by gore.
I was so angry that
they were taking my things.
I screamed at them to stop,
but still they ignored me.
I was distraught and terrified.
The loneliness and confusion
was overwhelming and
I desperately needed you to hold me, to
reassure me that things
would soon be back to normal.
I suppose all we can do is hope
for that, isn't it my Darling?
                                  Your Everloving Husband

I now realise that can never be.
I didn't survive that shell blast, did I?
You've probably known that
for many years by now.
There is no time here, not
after sudden death, just
an endless eternity of
seperation from you, of being trapped
and waiting for some kind Soul
to come and relieve the suffering.

And when a French farmer
is turning the earth in his field
someday in your future,
he'll find my bones and
I pray he'll give them
a decent burial; because
just as they held my body together
in life, so in death they're
keeping my Spirit shackled
to this desolate and dreary place.

So, light a candle in the
Cathedral for me, my Darling.
Pray for me and never give up hope.
And if someday you feel
a sudden gentle breeze
caressing your hair, although
there is no open window
nor door ajar, then you'll know
I've finally made it home!

Please believe me when I say
my love for you
has outlived the heart
that bore it.
               Your Adoring Husband.


  1. True love is a many splendid thing :-).

    1. Certainly is - and a rare thing too, in my experience!

  2. Wow, and Wow again! This is some poem and with some power behind it! It could so easily have become sentimental, mawkish even, but for me it soars gloriously above all the traps, partly perhaps because it is not immediately clear where you are going to take us. I shall need to read it a few more times before I come to a balanced view, but I have no doubt I shall remain a committed fan of it.

    1. I sincerely thank you for your patience, Dave.
      It took quite a few writings, too, and even now I feel I've still not done the subject justice.
      Still, I gave it my best shot :/

  3. This my dear Ygraine is truly another one of your jewels - absolutely stunning it deserves another wow and wow again from me as well and a standing ovation! Bravo :D

    1. I am so pleasantly surprised by your reaction, Rose! Thank you so very much.
      This is a subject I believed would not be many people's 'cup of tea.'
      It is a theme that is close to my heart though :)

  4. love and war is a classic. well done.

    1. Hi Ed,
      Many thanks. Really appreciate that :)


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