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