In The Silo Shadow (Final Version)

In The Silo Sahdow

I posted a poem on Armistice day – 11th November. It was a fursy draught. Here is the finished version – I think it conveys exactly the feeling of “desolation” I had when I discovered this small war cemetery in the middle of nowhere on the road to Suippes, nraes Reims in the east of France. This was a mixed cemetery with most headstones dating from early 1917 – French and British soldiers and nurses, also a young American volunteer ambulance driver.


On the road to Suippes, May 2018

The day draws down

And the mid-May sun

Sets lost horizons,

As I drive roads

Running endless fields

Where the green wheat grows,

Like the dead,

Industrial yields.

No hedge,

Lone tree

Dead turbine line,

No birdsong lament

No monument,

No dwelling

No spire

No human claim,

Just the silo beyond

By  the railway track

Comes the clanking train

Lumbering in,

Fills with grain,

And the dead sleep on

As the train scrapes off,

And the dead sleep on

In their lonely plots,

Where they fell when they fell

When this place was hell

And now, this is nowhere

But it’s somehwere to be,

This cemetery

Frontline to turbine

Out of life,

Out of time.

Like the last man alive

On the dead I look.

On a plinth,

By the gate,

A weathered book,

Of rememberance times,

A few fading lines,

Scrawled by the dead

To the dead, of so long ago,

So far gone

When the war was the Great war

And the dead were still young

Unborn in their youth

Still warm in the earth

Still born in their death.

At the going down of this sun

I wander the crosses

One by one,

By brother

By father

By each setting son,

By name

By age

By country

By faith

By no cause of death,



Blown to pieces

Rest in peace,

In the silo shadow

Down by the tracks.

On the rolling road

To nowhere and back,

The day draws down.