Where are the boys

The looms are still

silent are forge, factory and mill.

No ale is pulled

no crying infant by father lulled.

The piano is mute

unworn the Sunday best suit.


To breathe this air is to breathe sorrow

and the tears, behind doors, in the quiet

run like rapids, wetting worn photographs

that say there is no together, tomorrow.


Where are the boys


Gone across the cold water

gone from mother, wife and daughter

for war, as seed to sow,

from which the poppy will ever grow,

across the verdant field

to mark where youth to death did yield


They now lie under stark white stone

in strange earth that is not of England

in rows, neat and tidy above the ground

while beneath all are tatters and bone.


Where are the boys


In the town square

on the plaque over there,

that left behind tin

with his tobacco still within

and the flat cap

hung on the nail by the tap. 



9 thoughts on “WHERE ARE THE BOYS

  1. Nigel, this is a fantastic piece of poetry and gives another viewpoint of sometimes forgotten victims of war. I love how you have varied the poetry forms through the different verses. It creates an air of uncertainty like loved ones not knowing if their father, son, brother would ever return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes you picked up the deliberate verse variation, I was hoping to change mood. In the spoken version the first time the Question is asked is intended to be up beat then as the question is repeated and the truth realised the more serious and bitter tone takes over. Sadly my illness affects my voice and I’ve not much tonal variation now but there’s a hint of what I was trying to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nigel, pressed the wrong button, so cancel my last. I have listened to the poem again after your comment and still think the reading is perfect for the tone of the poem. The pace and variation you have there work well.

        Liked by 1 person

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