Today I watched you on my screen,
your polished medal’s liquid gleam
reflected…. in your eyes…
as you recalled some far off place;
a comrade, cold in deaths embrace,
tomorrow’s dreams denied.

No surety then of peace to come,
no guarantee of freedom won
frail courage to sustain….
to horror, cold and death inured..
by hope alone each day endured,
that none might fall in vain.

Whose hand was this, that shook the world,
let drums be played and flags unfurled,                   
…and gave such dogs release…….?
What reaper this; to wield a scythe
and harvest 60 million lives,
………that mine might pass in peace?

In shouldered rank, in wheel-chair row,
all line abreast, the annual show……..
the ever shrinking cast…
with missing limb or blinded eye,
all ribbons pressed and heads held high,
the children of the past.

The minute’s silence fills the air,
a single tear, my soul to bare
slips softly to my cheek….
the ghosts of war come all around
as if they hear some secret sound
that hearts alone might speak.

No trophies here, in brash parade;
no victors sneer, nor joy portrayed;
no “warriors anthem” sung……
…in silent prayer alone they stand
old soldiers…………. at the sole command
of those
forever young.

© Steve O'Kane