11 November – Poppy day

Millions of poppies brightly bloom though it’s long past July,
and even their former seed heads have long since said goodbye.
I see them planted in coats and strung up in the air,
bringing memories of forgotten fields to every thoroughfare.

Grandad’s tales tell again though he’s no longer here to speak,
they play freshly round my mind in precious, looping repeats.
I know now he softened his stories in a child-friendly way –
narrating how he kissed worms in relief and bought Nana French lingerie.

The histories I’ve heard and read over years tumble back to the fore,
myriad mosaic struggles of so many people’s Second World War.
I let them bloom out of season – bravery, drudgery, loss, freedom, regret –
to receive poppy seeds of wisdom lest I grow complacent and forget.

But I also remember I don’t yet live in a season of real peace,
others’ wars rage on even when Western news coverage has ceased.
I must not see the poppy as a laurel, or a relic of something past,
but pray for true remembrance to motivate peace-building that lasts.

Millions of poppies brightly bloom though it’s long past July,
covering November in blood-red flowers till it’s time to say goodbye.
I welcome their beauty, their time-bending truth, and their poignant call,
I will try to tend them always, inside, even after they fall.