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We sat with the dead, and they were happy
Faubourg d’Amiens British Military Cemetery


by Nicholas Haslam

We sat with the dead, and they were happy
that we’d come to talk awhile
and caress their short, cropped turf.

Shards on the baked earth sit,
migrants to the living world of flesh
and bones press our questioning lips
to silence. They have no want to trouble us,
trying to keep their secrets buried safe.

We spoke their names beneath a harvest moon,
stroked the cool white temple stone and smiled
our slow, sad gratitude.

We strolled that dusk an English garden.
Its roses, those ruined heads we plucked away -
for brighter blooms will return to them
our gentle cares and leave them
well content.

21 August 1998
Nicholas Haslam

Arras Memoiral
The Arras Memorial in the Faubourg d’Amiens cemetery
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