Why the Poppy is so red

She stood beside the cenotaph and held the old man’s hand

His nightmares from Vietnam, she would never understand

He pondered at her question and the words that she had said

“Can you tell me grandad why the poppy is so red?

 

I’ve seen some poppies around your house, in nannies garden bed

Of every shade and colour, well, that is except red

So is there some sad reason, that will not go away

Why the only red ones that I see, are those we see today”

 

The aging man made this reply, “If you care to listen please

The red ones that our family sowed, now flourish overseas

For once there were two brothers, who paid a deadly toll

You’ll find their names are listed there, on that honour roll

 

The first one was my grandpa Ben, the other one was Jack

Some said my pop was put on earth to watch his brother’s back

He guarded him from nature’s woes, in bushfire, flood and storm

And at night he’d wrap him in his arms, to keep the young one warm.

 

They heard their nation’s call to arms, a rally to the cause

In that noble exploit, the war to end all wars

It seemed like an adventure and they thought they’d take a chance

So they both signed up together and went off to the fields of France

 

The land that did confront them, was not the one they’d seen

On fancy tourist posters, or a travel magazine

The brothers made a fervent vow, if they in battle fell

They would stay together, to the very gates of hell

 

Jack went on leave, but when he came back, a tragic tale he learned

Ben had gone out on a raid and as yet had not returned

So he left the refuge of his trench and into no man’s land did roam

The only care in his selfless heart, was to bring poor Benny home

 

He found his sibling dying, then he too was cut down

By a German sniper’s bullet from a shell pocked Belgium town

They lay entwined together and as their blood did flow

It seeped upon some poppy seeds, that lay buried deep below

 

The decades passed and I made my way to where my kin were slain

A place that once reeked misery of mud and lice and rain

There is hardly a reminder now of the victory that was won

Just a field of poppies, waving proudly in the sun

 

So as we gather here in silence, on this Remembrance Day

We recall the flower of our youth, who went off to the fray

We pray for all our heroes and the blood that they have shed

That’s why my darling grandchild, THE POPPY IS SO RED.”

 

Tomas ‘Paddy’ Hamilton
27/4/2013

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File photo by Sergeant Troy Rodgers

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

2 thoughts on “Why the Poppy is so red

    • 29/11/2020 at 1:44 pm
      Permalink

      Sorry Graham, no book – at least not any time soon. Poet’s Corner is a relatively new aspect to our web site. Actually, it’s been around a few years, but scarcely supported. We only recently started encouraging submissions – via the “Write to us” form in the main menu – https://www.contactairlandandsea.com/2020/01/01/submit_your_story/ Submissions can be on any (military-related) topic and don’t have to be poems.

      Reply

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