Thinking about people like my father and grandfather who fought in the two World Wars, prompted me to write this poem a few years back. I think it is still appropriate today.
As the bell tolled and vibrated
It was though the dead were listening.
In those two minutes;
Was this the total time it took
For the millions dead in two World Wars,
Actually to die –
The cumulative total of their dying seconds
Adds up to what?
Two minutes – a minute for each war?
Two minutes silence in a day where elsewhere
The guns still chatter to solve petty squabbles,
Where bombs fragment more than dreams,
Where some people don’t need a knife when they have a cudgel for a tongue,
Where eyes appear open
But hands are closed – tight.
Two minutes silence, and hard though I tried,
I couldn’t hear a trumpet call from Heaven,
But felt the eyes of a father
Upon his children, watching their growth,
And maybe just sometimes wondering
Whether the death of his only son
Was really appreciated or understood,
Among so many deaths,
Among so many deaths…