2nd Lt. Herbert Q. Howard, DCM, 1897-1918

2nd Lt. Herbert Q. Howard, DCM, 1897-1918

Here, where the skylark rises wrapped in song
Above the serried graves, I searched to find
Something intangible, some part of you, long
Gone but still alive. Evidence, a sign
That you were more than just your mother’s tears,
A medal in a box, a scroll, one name
Carved on that panel weathered by the years,
Unvisited by kin until I came.

Just one among the millions buried here
Or scattered to the winds with no known grave.
Just one: a subaltern, a fusilier
Who left his home when duty called and gave
His life for comrades and firmly held ideals –
An end to war, freedom. Ideals betrayed
For war still stalks the earth, its death knell peals
Continuously above the cannonade.

The birdsong rippled back towards the ground
Which yet gives back the bombs and bones of men,
And in the peace of Picardy I found
A simple truth I had not grasped till then.
A part of you is flowing in my veins,
Lives on, was not destroyed by shot and shell;
Though what you died for has not been attained,
I must believe one day all will be well.

Maureen’s Great Uncle, who served in the Cambridgeshire Regiment from 1914-18

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