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Motorway lights
loop shadows
on three old men sitting,
composed on a silver-blue bus
as if in an old master's canvas.

The Normandy survivors
chat, suck pan-drops and reflect
in the quiet company
of sleepy-head children.

They roll into a dozing Dover
with its spectral white cliffs
luminous in the waking dawn.

The ferry churns dark cold waters
heading towards Calais' blood-red sun
begining its daily cycle.

This school-trip heads for …

image of boy on a normandy beach with his poem in the sand


Normandy's museums with
The tramp-tramp-tramp of Nazi jackboots,
The silk-parachute wedding gown.
The graphitised remnants of Berlin's Wall.

Normandy's memorials with
vets and cadets reciting to a stone faced Montgomery
"They shall grow not old …"
as they lay red-poppy wreaths.

Normandy's cemeteries with
regular marble crosses,
white as Belsen ashes,
as numerous as flakes of snow.

Normandy beaches with

three old men strolling
wearing medals and black berets –
hands clasped behind their backs.

Kids crouch,
and with their fingertips,
write poems of reflection
in the warmth of damp sand.

Poems that will be collected
by the evening tide,
and washed into a past
that pains the old men to remember –
yet one they never wish to forget.


image of two girls at a war grave  talkng with a veteran

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