As I read and as I listen to what’s written and what’s said,
Through all the words and pictures come the voices of the dead.
When I see commemorations, all my comrades row on row
The voices swirl and whisper as they speak from long ago.
“If we fill your recollections, if you hear us in your head
Then our spirits live forever, though our bodies are long dead.
Though the reasons that we went to war, the reasons we were slain,
May be lost – we’re not forgotten so our deaths were not in vain.”
When I stop before the tablet where the names are carved in stone,
Though I’m standing solitary, suddenly I’m not alone.
As the wind tugs at my blazer, and a tear forms in my eye,
I hear the voices murmur on the breeze’s rising sigh.
“If we fill your waking moments, if we haunt you when you dream,
If recalling us brings anguish and the pain becomes extreme,
Just remember we were brothers once and will be once again
You’ve not forgotten us and so our deaths were not in vain.”
So I march with all my comrades and we tread the well-worn route
As our band of close-knit brothers heads towards the last salute.
But the whispering voices echo and I can’t ignore their call
For the one voice speaks for many and the many speak for all.
“If we fill your final moments when at last you come to rest,
If the memories you had of us were always at our best,
If you kept us in your soul with no surrender to the pain,
Then we’ve always been beside you, and our deaths were not in vain.”
© Brian Keith Bilverstone 2007