A private return from war by Antony Burrows

A private return from war

by Antony Burrows


In the stillness of bonfire breezes

Dutifully winding lanes lined,

And avenues ranked ,over tidy doorsteps, 

Down cobblestone washed streets,

Through willow weeping gates and ginnels…I pass by.



I pass by, in laurel, a green boned yeoman, who drilled

And scattered once, in dominion warrior lands, sown

Latent seed ,reaped proud stalks in evening light,

Then cut down in raw war dark dawn…I wave bye.


I wave bye, reflective in autumn pastels, paused,

Hand delivered opened to find, tears captured as fallen leaves,

And destined to be, shuttered off in sepia memories,

Parlour drawn, mantle resting piece…I look by.


I look by, finding lovers, brothers, mothers,

Received with stoic black poppy pride,

Prayed silence, a crown of Portland stone,

Stories of valour, pals together, alone…I stand by.


I stand by, and you may say, did I not know,

As does the oak, young sapling ?,

Felled in the warmth of new life,

No acorns rising, nestling under moss,

Only the cold pastures of death and loss,

And I ask why ?.  


Antony Burrows


One thought on “A private return from war by Antony Burrows

  1. Although there are traces of that obscurantism that I find unsettling, I do like this poem. I can at least see that it is about the ghost of a dead soldier moving unseen through scenes of everyday life and pondering on the sacrifice of his own life and those of hundreds of thousands like him and asking that age old question, ‘Why’?

    Was it to preserve those very scenes of everyday life that he observed in his passing and; if so, were they worth the price paid by so many?


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