100 Years

1918 - 2018

Marking the end of World War I

Two Poppies

By Norah Dempster

Australian War MemorialAustralian War MemorialTwo old women at the War Memorial,

they take their time,

names on bronze panels stretch either side.

‘There he is,’ one whispers, and they both stand still.

Their mother’s only brother,

he fought at the Somme.

 

the one who never came home

 

Their childhood kitchen opens up:

coal stove, pots bubbling, table set,

milk jug, sugar, plates in place,

knives and forks nice and straight.

The clock ticks.

 

Then a smash at the door, Army boots flung,

milk jug tipped, their mother hit—

their father, swearing, back from the pub

still fighting the Japanese.

 

Remembrance PoppiesRemembrance Poppiesthe one who came home

 

Two old women reach in their bags,

hold a poppy each, stand on their toes,

pin both poppies beside the first name.

Norah Dempster, 2018

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