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Hardwick Village
War Memorial 1914-1918

by John Stocks

And they who lived in forests
Under clouds that seeded soft rains
With the strange erotic allure
Of moist autumnal dampness
And shared intimacy with mists.

They who lived such brief lives
Shared the summer ecstasies
Of swifts and swallows on the wing
And cut peat on summer evenings
Wood smoke curling to infinity
Watching fire-flies and pond-skaters
Skim the lakes of the great estates
Rufford, Welbeck and Clumber.

Just boys but brave and proud to wear
The famous badge of Sherwood green
The collective unconscious of dreams
Forged in blacksmith’s sheds; on cricket fields
Still resonates in Flanders far from home
As the morning mist rises on the Somme
And you stride out eastwards all alone.

The first name on the memorial?
In bitter irony
Edward Allbones.

Copyright © 2006 by John Stocks

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