May 8th 1945

A revision from my original book for the next one.

 To The Lost And Those Who Wait For Them

 

Crowds thronged the streets, dancing, singing,
Waving flags. Celebrating victory.
Creating lives from chance encounters
Consummated in public house conveniences
Or arboretum flower beds
Or under municipal bandstands
While Colliery Silver Bands played,
And the crowds stood to sing,
“God Save the King.”

Sprinkled among the celebrant tide,
Stoical, unmoving, unremarked
A regiment of mothers stands,
A scattered forest of petrified trees
Amid a swirling flotsam sea.
 

Hoping beyond hope
That their ‘missing in action’
Johnnie or Reggie, Arthur or Henry
Might step off the train from Waterloo.
Throw his regimental cap high in the air
Toss his kitbag on to the platform,
Rush to her arms promising
Never to go to war again.
 
These mothers wear a uniform,
Headscarf tight tied under chin, a floral apron.
Arms folded, eyes narrowed from squinting,
Mouth down-turned with creases of disappointment.
Not speaking. Not eating. Not drinking. Waiting.
 
The crowd tide ebbs yet the mothers stand
And the next day and the next and the next after that
At street corners, bus stops, railway stations
Unwavering… watching… waiting … watching.

Wind on time three thousand days.
Crowds, celebrating a princess becoming a queen.
Flock to the streets again,
Waving cheap cotton flags till their arms ached
Singing the restyled anthem till their jaws ached
And sore throats croaked for Fisherman’s Friends.

The remnant regiment of mothers.
Weather-beaten living memorials.
Fewer now. Older now.
Stooped and gaunt stand silent
Arms folded.
Observing faces at railway stations.
 
Beyond hope now
Yet still hoping
That their ‘missing in action’
Johnnie or Reggie, Arthur or Henry
Might step off the train from Waterloo.
Throw his regimental cap high in the air
Toss his kitbag on to the platform,
Rush to her arms promising
Never to go to war again.

I stand behind my blinds
Staring down the street
Hoping to see a familiar walk
Awaiting a hug and a kiss that means,
“Everything’s alright. Let’s forgive and forget.”

Though I will it to ring
The phone stays mute.

One “I’m thinking of you,”
Will ease my mind for a day.
A single “I love you,”
Will calm my fears for a week.

I hover in the space between window blinds
And obstinate silent telephone,
Waiting like thousands,
Pinioned by hope.
Peering through curtains
For one who may never appear.

In time my heartache will fade.
My lover – my rejecter
Will shrink to mere memory
I’ll find another lover.
 
Unlike that stoic regiment of mothers –
Street corner sentries awaiting their sons.

© coolhermit 2017
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critique and comments welcome.

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2 Comments on "May 8th 1945"

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Pommer
Member
Hi Rick, what a wonderful description of the *the 8thof May 1945..I was of course in a different place at the time,surrendering to the USA forces at the river Elbe, having been fighting rear guard action in the East..I was glad it was all over. Talking about the ones that were waiting what a dreadful time for those that waited in vain.My mother waited for ten months before she heard of me.She told me of her fears and hopes when we finally met again after ten long years.War is a dreadful occurrence for all of us ,especially for the ordinary… Read more »
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