a poppy seed flies in the wind
and landing lightly on the earth
lies waiting for sun’s energy
to germinate and give it birth
a droplet falls from rainy skies
weak sunlight warming with its rays
until in spring new growth begins
it’s bloom sublime on summer days
blood red a field of poppies shine
each one a hundred others yield
these symbols ever in our hearts
of all who die on Flanders field
Having reached three score years and ten (and passed it) I like to think that this particular poem reflects what living a life means for many people.
When casting off we have no fears,
with youth and strength well fortified,
inside we’re older than our years
with dreams as yet to be denied.
Flags flying we set sail at speed,
horizons beckon far ahead,
of compasses we have no need,
forgetting all our parents said.
Foul winds may blow us far off course,
yet breasting powerful waves with zest,
no time to stop or feel remorse,
we tell ourselves it’s for the best.
We hit the doldrums now and then,
time hanging heavy on our hands.
Such stagnant doleful days are when
we feel no other understands.
But then a fresh new breeze will start,
and ease us forward carefully,
as gladly we again take heart,
and launch ourselves against life’s sea.
Yet over time strength fades away
until at last there is no more
and inwardly we spend our days
just drifting to that unknown shore.
On 14 June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London at 00.54 am BST; it caused 72 deaths, including those of two victims who later died in hospital. More than 70 others were injured and 223 people escaped.
where escape routes were none
where there was nowhere to run
where the flames lit the sky
where they prayed not to die
how they screamed while we cried
how come so many died
how come nowhere to turn
how come ‘jump or you’ll burn’
what a loss for those living
what they feel – unforgiving
what horrors they saw
what hell can hurt more
who fought against flames
who’s still searching for names
who still digs where fire laid them
who was it betrayed them
why were people not heard
when they passed on the word
where those dangers might lie
– who turned a blind eye?