Edward remembered

Dad’s dad Edward was dead
long before the latest fat head
got squeezed out into the world
and tentatively curled
its fingers round the thumb
of the man Edward called son

Edward lost his senses
fighting in the French trenches
got shot in the guts
rehabilitated in hospital huts
then shipped back to blighty
with one almighty
addiction to chlorodyne
which he took all the time
with whisky chasers
refighting the war with family and neighbours

I saw a picture taken a few years before
Edward marched off to the First World War
he was standing by a bus in Victoria station
where he worked for the transport corporation
a fag in his left hand, a dipstick in the right
the family devil in his eye alright

There’s been no shortage of fighting since then
no doubt there’ll be plenty of fighting again
no one learns anything, what can you say?
you sign on the line, you fire away
while the ones who demanded it posture and smirk
and let the mechanics do the work

I’d love to have asked him
his considered opinion
depending on his temper
how much he’d had on the eleventh of November

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