Dear Mr. Read

By 25th March 2009December 9th, 2019No Comments

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to see.
I should explain – we haven’t met,
I’ve only seen you once as yet.
I went upstairs just after tea
and saw you then. Did you see me?
Is that the best suit you could get?
It must feel good, I bet,
to be free.

Last year in the Mall we celebrated,
saw VE flags file through the arch.
But you weren’t there – we should have waited –
you were still in Burma, not on the march.
This evening you were sat on the lawn, alone.
Was I very wrong to look?
I’d only gone to fetch a book.
Why are you skin and bone?

The skeleton of memory
stuck out as I watched
when VJ soldiers marched
the Mall belatedly.
Stuttering, shuffling steps they took
with looks of pride, limbs that groaned,
emaciated, moaned,
haunted by guardian gook.

I’ve taken sixty years to see.
A thousand VJ stars parade
without you, Mr. Read,
celebrate you posthumously,
saluted now by royalty.
My full-sobbed tears do not degrade.
We meet at last, with pride.

David Bean

Author David Bean

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