Poem of the Month: September 2014


soldier

He gave him flowers, didn’t seem enough
To shout goodbye and then just take his leave,
Shrug on his new jacket, the khaki rough
Against his eyes, the darkening sleeve;
Flowers that he knew were loved, a bouquet
He’d gathered early, tied with binding string,
And left there on the table before the day,
Left as a promise, strong as any ring.
Then watched and tended daily with such care,
Each petal’s fall a distant rifle crack,
Echoing and echoing from afar,
Each dead flower an enemy attack.
But one rose was found rooting in the jar,
And planted in the garden as a prayer.

This sonnet was written some time ago when I read an obituary of Maurice Sendak whose book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is a classic of children’s literature. It was the detail that he had lived with his male partner for fifty years that set a train of thought going,

‘What would it be like if your same-sex partner was called up in a war? How would you survive? Who could you talk to about it in those far off times? Would anyone recognise your relationship to be valid as a heterosexual one?’

If you wish to hear me read this poem, you can follow the link below, glorious music and production by Mik Davis

https://soundcloud.com/jamesmorgannash/he-gave-him-flowers-james