The weight of time
pressing urgent on buried nerve,
here, beneath the wave tops
pushed high by hidden reef
two hundred Viking ships were lost,
storm dragged to the sea’s quiet depth
where all is peace and shadows from turmoiled war
ripple and play, now just colours helpless on a wall,
stripped of power and force.
Here the fury of the night is dimmed,
gentle sway of water at the sea’s end,
weeds slowly moved by a distant tide
where 6,000 men scattered in careless terror
are given ease by the weight of armour
which brings them down to rest,
lung burst in dreams that will not rise,
final bubbles carrying secrets always lost –
Rolled quietly in sand never seen,
their bones taken in tribute, chests revealed
like ribs of ships which seek the upward light.
Here they practiced too for Overlord,
landing boats spilling tanks and men,
The King himself came and went and wars were won.
To-day in Studland Bay divers trawl
and the throb of engines fills the air
as Special Forces practice yet again
to land on foreign seas –
Parachutes blooming as they fall,
the roar of black coated boats
receiving this new tribute from the skies,
preparation for turmoil far away.
Now whose ribs will seek the upward light,
Now whose final breath will carry secrets lost
to a dawn unseen by eyes forever closed.
Now whose lips will never speak or kiss once more,
Now whose ears sealed to whispered hopes
will never hear the promised words: Stand Down.