Eleven Eleven

Garnet Rogers
Language: English

Ah, the glorious few are all the fewer here
In the cold November air.
The crowd draws silent, their collars raised,
To the edges of the square.
The children's choir sings "In Flanders Fields."
The band plays "Over There."
The old heroes still try to dress the line
As the chaplain leads the prayer.

For the glorious few no longer stand so straight
As they did long years before,
When they faced a hard and cruel fate
On a far and distant shore,
Their tunics faded green and blue,
Poor shelter from the cold,
The memories made yet raw and new
At the calling of the roll.

The heads are bowed in silence now
At the tolling of the hour.
The first few falling flakes of snow
Drift gently on the flowers
All piled and stacked against the stones,
Petals fluttering in the air.
The eyes that stare down through the years
At the one no longer there.

The taste of lost and wasted years
So bitter on the tongue,
White breath in clouds in the autumn cold,
Frail chests with medals hung
In battle ribbons red and gold
In the pale November sun,
The hands and faces grown so old,
While the heart stays ever young.

For the glorious few are all the fewer here
The old soldiers form the square
The wind blows hard and shakes the leaves
And stirs the thin white hair
Of these fading brave and fragile souls
As the bugler plays "Last Post"
The snow falls thick and faster still
And turns them white as ghosts.

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