The scene is desolate: skeletal trees
shiver in icy breezes, their naked branches
clutching at ancient gravestones
as if to gather the dust beneath
and resurrect it once more
into sentient life. The lingering anguish
of men long forgotten leaches
into the blood-red smiles of poppies
dutifully laid at the heads of the fallen.
And your restlessness breaches the frozen earth
to fill my heart with intense, all-absorbing compassion.
I am pulled out of time. Clouds obscure the sun.
In the misty grey gloaming, eyes strain
to trace the faintest outline of a man:
slender, caked in reddened mud. His eyes,
wild with terror, momentarily meet mine.
Oh how you learned historians have erred:
the Battle of the Somme still rages on...