40 Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day: A Poem

I wrote this poem in the days following Remembrance Sunday, which this year fell on 12th November.

 

Remembrance Day

November morning, near one hundred years since it all fell quiet

The city centre occupied by tourists, shoppers, poppy-wearers

Cold air invades hats, scarves, coats.  Shops offer warmth from overhead heaters.

The threat of Christmas is tangible now.

 

The department store speakers make their announcement close to the hour

Shoppers, entrenched in aisles, finger handbags, gift sets.  Buyers shuffle in the queue.

The radio switches to the BBC.  A presenter speaks the Queen’s English

As the bells begin to chime.

 

Silence falls.

Hats are removed and held like prayers.  Eyes cast to the floor.

Somewhere, a phone dings, apologetic.  Then quiet.  Somewhere else, the rustle of clothes hangers.  Voices outside raise and fall as their owners pass the door.

After a minute (and with a minute still to go), the checkout bleeps again, bleeps again, like radar.

 

Then the radio resumes its crackling Queen’s.  Shoppers reprise their plans for the season.

The silence is observed.  The remembrance is forgotten.

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