29 October 2016


Two Poppies

At the beginning of November
I bought two poppies.
One, with its blood red petals sharp edged symbols 
of pain and death, its thin green drooping leaf and wiry stalk 
wound about with flimsy ribbons of dull green plastic, 
I pinned into my button hole. 
The other flower, soft and white like a velvet star in the sky,
I pinned above my heart, and asked the God of Mercy
to lead us in our search for peace.

Waking to the dawning of the eleventh day 
of the eleventh month,
I looked up at a sky where the sun wove
thick reddening clouds into an empyrean landscape
of poppies, mimicking dark fields saturated
with the life blood of men who, like early rotting corn
untimely harvested, lay scattered across the fields of death.
Beneath this wine red canopy, I asked the God of Hope
that he might bring us out of darkness into light.

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day
of the eleventh month
I stood not in a church, nor beside a cenotaph,
but on a bitter cold cliff rising high above the coast of Kent.
There when I listened to the  wind I heard the echoing thud of guns,
there in the rain I felt on my hands warm rivulets of blood,
there, as I remembered them and honoured them,
I wept for all those who died, for every widow who mourned,
and for every sorrowing fatherless child.

Our world today is still wracked with unceasing bloody slaughter,
and in the name of the Man of Peace I ask the God of Love
that we may some day offer to all our enemies
the gentle white poppy of peace.

Amen  So may it be