Walter Wilson - Poems


Desert say it with an exhaling of breath,
Feel the prickle of sand on your skin,
The sloping dunes with an eye.
Then take in the wind that blows our hair.
Be worn to fantastic shapes.

Bessbrook Bandsmen

Men who went to war returned as stories
If they fell, carried home by those they knew
Oft repeated down the line of kinfolk
Until the line of truth and myth is blurred.
But still they are held in perceived glory.
The Remembrance band in a foreign land.

Stretcher bearers, men of the thirty sixth
Up and down the hollows and safer shell holes
But no seafarers with a mark to guide
Instead the smoke, the noise, someone's death cry.

My 'Uncle Eddie' was there, blown to atoms,
His party with a wounded man was hit.
Now his name marks time at the Menin Gate.

For those who survived annual Reunion,
Singing the coarse soldier's songs for rude joy
Accompanied by a young lad, their age then,
On the mouth organ, vamping a note behind.
Yet they come together on the slow songs
Wistfulness distilling out of the air.

In the end each goes on his separate way.
The young lad disappearing into night
But the old sweats' stay in their distant places
The bottles strewn like spent cartridge cases.

Walter Wilson