Brief Encounter

by | Apr 15, 2009 | Poetry | 0 comments

Your Daddy’s off to his training,
there’s a war on, you must not cry,
they said when he left on a troop train.
baffled my three-year-old mind.

Three years with a few brief encounters
when he returned home on leave
shrouded in battledress khaki
apart from his boots. They were black
like Lancaster’s soot-soiled stone-work,
sky split by searchlights at night,
sleep nightmared by air-raids and sirens.
Morecambe Bay’s radiant sunsets
greyed-out in my mind.

On our brief encounter before D-Day
at my aunt’s home near calm Windermere Lake
evening’s candle- and lamp-light
glowed warm in my mind.

We left Windermere station together
but my father would stay on the train
on his way to a Normandy beach.
At Lancaster we would leave him: life’s colours
greyed-out in my mind.

Before then the train stopped at Carnforth
where tea-ladies sought out the soldiers.
With a smile one handed my father
a jam-jar of golden-brown tea.
Good luck, safe return, she wished him: dead colours
revived in my mind.

Carnforth tea-ladies long departed.
Who cares today for our soldiers?
Or their families’ once living colours
greyed-out in their minds?


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