The Shell

Patriotism did not survive being gassed in the trenches.

It is a shellshocked zombie,

Lurching forward, hand on heart, muttering

“Dulce est” but can’t remember what.

(Blood is sweet.)

Somewhere in the distance lies Blighty

Or perhaps just blight.

There is mud.

Was there an enemy?

What was sweet?

Something was supposed to be sweet, and perhaps right.

On it goes, upright still but staggering,

Up to its knees in mud

Mouthing the words in blank confusion

Unable to remember the meaning or the direction

Of home.


5th July 2017, Florence