Two Minutes for My Grandfather

A winter wind from Flanders
Chills the medalled veterans
Deployed beside the war memorial.

The church clock plays the prelude,
And all the people still themselves
For ritual public silence.

At first my mind can’t find a focus ’
Two minutes seem like ten ’
But then remembrance comes:

A solemn Sergeant on his last leave
Posing in a sepia photograph,
With his young unsmiling family;

His last request sent from the front,
In faintly pencilled lines of love:
‘Kiss the children for me’.

The CO’s letter: ‘Your husband died in action
Leading his platoon, shot through the heart,
He felt no pain.’

The vexing text
Upon his Belgian gravestone:
‘Thy Will Be Done’.

The bugler breaks the silence,
But still the questions go unanswered:
How was Thy Will done, and why?