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Ian Palmer

At Southend Cenotaph

November morning on the cliffs
remembering with the veterans.
The padre speaks the prayer, the mayor
stands dignified as sacrifice
for peace is claimed, and wreaths are laid.

I never served in war but rather
think of my father fresh from school,
mired in the muddy fields of France
till brought home by a blighty one,
more than eighty years ago.

For may years I have stood here
bareheaded as the bugles sound,
to wear the poppy, mouth the words,
yet still our flags of war unfurl,
our guns still sound around the world.