When will the last bugler
play “The Last Post”
for the last time?
“At the going down of the sun
and in the morning”
when will we remember the mourning?
When will we remember them
who were raped in war?
And those who died in the bombing?
And those killed by depleted uranium?
And those who walked
on land mines long after the war?
And the children playing with cluster munitions?
And those soldiers choking on nerve gasses?
And those who drowned after
our navy turned back boatloads of refugees?
When will we remember the cowardice
and the fear of troops huddled in trenches?
When will we remember the futility of war,
the betrayal of our leaders who told us to fight?
When will we remember the awfulness
and the stench of decaying bodies?
When will we remember the disfigurement,
and the horror of shattered lives?
When will we truly remember?
First published in New Community Quarterly Vol.16 (3) Issue 63, 2018. Under the title “Another bloody peace poem”
Copyright © 2020 John Tomlinson