This morning’s footprints

Endure upon the frosted grass

Cold sun casting

Gravestone shadows

On the manicured turf

Bright white against emerging green.


Contay Military Cemetery

The Somme

Plot 2, Row A Number 16

My uncle


Age 33


Good morning Uncle -

You don’t know me,

Your nephew, son of brother Bert

And this my son,

We’ve come to find you,

Greet you. Pass down the news.


The wooded valley slopes

Towards the rolling hills

In gentle France.

Here you rest in the highest row-

Officers mainly, from the Ancre affair.

View’s good, the river not far off.


Sometimes I see you all


Splitting the turf


To greet the sun

And one another.


The ‘Inconnu’, the ‘Unbekannter’,

The “Only Known to God’

Shaking hands, surprised,

Rediscovering their names

And asking,

“What went wrong?”


The sound of guns no longer splits the air

Autumnal sky so vast only the mind trembles

And passing crows no longer measure

Disappearing boundaries.

Time passes. You remain.