by Elizabeth Cummings
The dawn striped red across the sky
When standing still we gazed upon the sea
Breathing in the silence drawing near
As patriotic flags flapped in the wind
We prayed and thought about this legacy.
Our minds dwelling on the many and the many more
Who gave their lives too soon in all those wars
And their aching families who mourn them yet
And the countries whose pride they to death held dear.
When bearing death, their legacy they gave.
The talking and the praying goes on
The hymns that some still know
And sing in quivering tone and tune
In time as the quiet comes and goes
About this legacy and so a unified conscience grows.
Now the wreaths are being laid down
Beside the twin flag poles
Names are called with due respect
And whilst we hear “the Last Post” played.
We reflect on how their loss to us our freedom gave
When will we know when we have learnt
Through all those lessons that war taught
And whilst we are stirred by native spirit
To all rise to praise the strong and dead
We sing our half-forgotten anthems with our coy pride
As the crowds now make their way
And file past the decorated stones
That mark the lives of those unknown
Whose legacy only our little lives do show
And whose coldness hold warm the hearts of all those left.
Should we not find some better thing
Some meaning for ourselves
Some way to comprehend this gift, this loss
To ask ourselves what bleeding heart, what weeping soul
Can immortalise this bloody legacy.
So take up your arms and leave your soul
To mourn on what was lost
For these memories of the dead will not bring back
Nor lay to rest the passion and the harm
That simmers in these hearts of the mournful young
They will learn in their own time
What it is that harms a man
But if there be but one sole prayer
That we should chant in eternal unison
Be it that this day shall be their legacy for peace.
- Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #17