Remembrancetide 2011

Final whistle

 The last volley of friendly guns has gone, rumbling, earth-shuddering, echoing away

Leaving an awkward silence.

Straining ears find the sound of falling raindrops

Pinging like hammer blows onto a blacksmith’s helmet

The musty smell of sodden wool rises from the tunic of a shepherd

And mingles with apple-sweet rifle oil on a nurseryman’s carbine.

Smoke curls from the groom’s flared nostrils as he takes a final pull on his pipe

The lamplighter grips the rungs of his ladder, squinting up into the rain

“Lovely day for it” mutters the farrier, shuffling ankle-deep, mud-shod.

The butcher’s bowels tightening and twisting sausages inside him

The bowed head of the pallbearer, averting his gaze

The seconds ticking down on the referee’s watch.

Till suddenly: no extra-time, no replays,

Just one, long, shrill blast,

And it all kicks off.


November, 2011

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