BBC5 Commission – In this silence we remember

I was sat at the desk at my new work place when an email flashed up on the screen of my phone saying ‘Request from the Today program’.

After a quick double take I opened it to find an invitation to discuss Kipling as a War poet on Radio 4. The interview went very well and I was delighted to be asked to write a piece for Radio 5 to be recited on the Sunday of Remembrance Week. 

The recording can be found here on the BBC’s website. It’s at the bottom of the page. 

In this silence we remember

As the clock strikes

And a hush falls across this isle,

Whilst other nations might give voice to grief

This is not our style

For we find solace in the quiet moment,

It is in the silence we remember

The grocer in his shop

All work at a stop as he recalls tales of

A grandfather who came from overseas

To fight for a country he had never seen

And fell in some forgotten foreign field

In this silence he remembers

The crowds by the tower, sheathed in crimson,

A tide of gentle homage to youth forever young

All present, their heads hung

In respect for that lost

Generation denied its chance to flower

In the silence they remember

The woman stood at the Cenotaph,

Stern faced, no laugh today will escape her lips

Her head dips as the priest speaks, her cold cheeks burn

As she offers silent thanks for her grandson’s safe return

From mountains where death hides in wait

In this silence she remembers

Whilst another mother, proud, upright, lips tight

Her face a stream with tears, she has felt the sum

Of all her fears when her child did not come home from that far off fight,

The boy she used to kiss goodnight

She feels his presence here

In this silence where she remembers

And in the crowd I stand, clutching close my wife’s hand

As the faces of my own lost appear before me

And I pray my child will never see

The tide of misery and pain that washed away so many men

On Flanders bloody fields

In this silence, I remember

For they were ours

And they gave their all

And we shall never forget

So though it be a century, or a century more or a century more yet

In this silence we shall remember

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