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,
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.