The Poppies


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At peace with the poppies..

The Poppies

 And in the distance the cannon fire

of our old lives fell silent

The searing artillery melted into brushstroked art

And our legion of long service cares

emerged blinking from behind the worry lines

to fraternise with hope.

That Sunday afternoon after the armistice of knowing

that love could be part of the sunrise

we left the bondfires of Lewes

to explore the smoke that smoulders within.

We were at peace with the poppies

whispering like moths wings on a perfect Sussex hillside

Feeling the fairy stems caress our legs

like a repeated yes, yes.

And amongst the dragonflies and chalklines

we could hear echoes in the landscape

A Copper Family chorus, a shepherd’s whistle

Trickling down the folds in the chalk, Beacon to meadow,

bloodspot poppies dabbed amongst the Marjoram and Thyme,

tiny chips of time preserved in fleeting chalk

as we moulded the moment

like diligent and gentle flintwall makers

Uncorking time profligately like post war refugees

Allowing it to pour as a navigation trickle,

a bead from a furrowed forehead to a burnished amber estuary

buzzing with insect chatter over balmy dew ponds

here in the green dough folds of life after conflict

slumbering in the afternoon haze on the hottest day of the year

when the poppies silkily kissed our skin

pressing their smell on us like fine opium

And we paused to inhale the moment

taking it deep inside

marking the stamen heartbeat

remembering the Cenotaph paths and the McCrae words

that didn’t dampen pneumonia or cure a war

as his poppies bled in Flanders a century ago

where wholesale death

was bartered for peace at any price.

So we stood to attention in the sun

In deference to the millions of could have been lives

the wraith-like regiments walking towards us

wishing they were us

watching us scythe despair down in warm blood

so that the poppies could become flowers again.

 

Roy Stannard 17th July 2013

Hear it on Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/roystannard/the-poppies

Hear the live version originally broadcast on The Whole Nine Yards 18.7.13 here:

http://roystannard.tumblr.com/post/144797792186/roy-stannard-the-poppies

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