They ran down tree-lined pathways,
along country lane and over moors
to cities where the King’s Shilling they took
to keep enemies from our shores.
To them, age has no matter.
Be they young or perhaps too old,
they were willing to serve their country,
to stand steady and be bold.
From the pleasant Isles of Britain
‘cross the Channel they did go,
to battle in fields and trenches
where now blood red poppies grow.
Through Summer’s heat and Winter’s cold
they charged and fought and died.
Sheltering in craters,
getting tangled in the wire.
The Somme took its toll on their numbers,
Ypres and Passchendale too.
Whole families of men side by side
in mud that clung like glue.
A hundred years have passed now
since that war that is called ‘Great’
and lessons learned, not forgotten,
since thousands met their fate.
Still remains the hollows
in some places to be seen.
Do spirits of soldiers brave
still wage battle in between?
Now crosses mark the fallen.
Who in valour slain
rest eternal, not forgotten,
as poppies grow in sun and rain.
-17th May 2014
Chris Parsons is an American poet who is the GO! Great Opportunities and GO! Palace Plymouth Poet-in-Residence. She is well known in the Plymouth literary scene having been invited quite a few times to read at The Word/Black Books monthly events. Her poem Poppies Grow in Solace, a tribute to the Centennial of World War One, led to the publishing of her book The Small Step Journey. Chris was a finalist in the Golden Crown Literary Awards in 2016.