Posted by: Ron DuBour | April 5, 2018

Longlands~by Stephen Fitall




Image may contain: outdoor

Sleep opens to remember our war days
Recall child eyes repainting my blush
With age rusty barbwire memories
Drawing of tired curtains; snagged in rush

And what of screwing the courage
To that door; our number three
Just soldiers moving forward
You, your daggers and me

Sharing a third of our rifle
recoil and recall through the haze
Every memory an explosion in wartime
Landmines of a mind in a maze

Of no man’s land; duty retreats
A mother abandons her post
A salute to escape from her battle
Advance by retreating the most

An army of the measure of never
Ghosts marching out of the mists
See them fall through our lifetime
Lost…again, just names on a list

But attention! The shelling ceases
Ha ha! Machine gun laughter haunts
A fragile peace tied to splinters
Of darkness with truce that taunts

A cautious defence encircles
The creak and click of our gate
Our border, our fences, our hedgerow
Hunker down; time to listen and wait

With Baggage collectors collecting
Pieces of us dead in the dust
Time lost long in the long lands
A father doing all that he must

Sentry post window halfway up the stairs
Sulphur rain on glass blurs and foils
Vigilant watching alone at the window
Existence threatened – roots out of soil

Time – your absent mother would say
Pardons all traitors. Years diluted
But we keep them in the crosshairs
Sighted enemies; mother included

The world shifts again – moving plates
To an axis of peace – for a while
A ceasefire of sorts for now
But a taking from the boy of his smile

As part of this armistice agreement
the boy is sent away in the trade
Thirty months but who will be counting?
For its here where the man will be made

We return to our summer of summers
And the best kind of weather
The sort to leave us wondering, was it real
And did we live like this forever?

No, in short, is the answer
But you were our knight on his charger
And though future battles tore us apart
Your past over present is larger

There…, we have let the years run away with us
And never felt so distant from those days
Like old soldiers forgetting their wartime
Yet know that somewhere, something is still ablaze

My point? Despite our roots out of soil
I know you did your best to nurture and flower
And you were for a time our everything
Longlands Road. Forever your hour.

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