Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Stone Platoon

How else to look at this fountain
with adjacent memorial statues?
Drizzle’s left droplets finding paths
through embossed verdigris,
such-and-such a name who fell.
I’m not close enough to make more
of others’ particular loss
in whichever battle or campaign.
The stone platoon endures
inclement weather, helmeted,
bayonets fixed at the clear air.

Remembrance Sunday every year
we'd stand with such indifference.
Dragooned Boy Scouts in the breeze
which furled around a cenotaph.
We’d put up with it, out of respect –
although, eventually, out of respect,
we’d be prone to goose bumps,
unkind laughter and knocked knees.

Here now though are historians:
three men at the foot of a lion.
What it might have meant at one time
flashes out into the sun-split sky.
Corporate call-centre managers
clinch photographs of those
who, in memoriam there, did
the best they could have done.