For my Grandad a hundred years on : the First World War centenary

 

With much love for my Grandad, Thomas Clarke, born 1896, who fought with the Sherwood Foresters, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment 1914-1918

 

Show me a greenhouse

and I catch my Grandad’s face

turning, as he bends to his plants,

his calm back rounded away

from trench war and toil.

I recall his gentleness,

the pungent hothouse smell

of tomato plants and the soil

quick with growing.

 

Kindness itself, he was always quiet,

would sit smoking, stare into space.

A survivor. How was it to return, to carry

those memories to the end of your days?

He never spoke about it, except to say that

the pack-mules had to be attended to first.

He was sent home with trench fever,

which saved his life.

 

At the eleventh hour the guns fell silent –

on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

My Grandad’s birthday.

 

 

Rose Cook

Poem for Lammas ~ August 1st

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Crowning Party

 

This year the weather changed with rain

and cooler in the North, hints of autumn.

 

When our children were small, we always held a party

when August began. Each wore a crown.

 

The barley fields wave theirs in a golden sea.

Farmers will begin to gather the grain.

 

My mother took us bilberrying up on the moors.

A whole wild day scrambling through heather.

Special sandwiches and pop.

 

* my new book Hearth is available from me or http://www.culturedllama.co.uk/

 

Poem and photograph Rose Cook