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Grandpa


A restless tide and a moody sky,

over the North Sea,

Grandpa and I ...

sat on the sea wall, fishing at dawn.

He said little to me when I was still small,

but I had grown up now;

he had spared me before,

and now was the time to tell me of warÖ



He pausedÖ



Itís a duty I felt, itís a duty we have,

itís a duty we shared in my town,

There was never a doubt, never descent,

never a waiver or frown.

Duty they said to me and passion was sold,

to the patriotic men we could be.

We pulled on our hats,

pride polished our boots

and took us over the sea.



When I want to be home, I close my eyes,

but the battle is still in my ears.

When I want to feel loved,

I hold out my hand,

and yet Iím surrounded by fear.

The letters I dream of come muddy and torn,

with the sweet smell of love dressed in prose.

I love my country, I would die for liberty,

but this is not what I chose.



Strangers we all,

share waking and sleeping,

through laughter are bloodshot eyes,

ĎMy friendsí,

I now call some fair fallen men,

too many I have seen die.

We pause, ...

oh not shy of the bullets that fly,

but still wishing us all home once more,

to be safe with our loved ones and

sweet England,

as it should be,

and as it once was before.



Then itís the dawn,

cold,

driven and drawn,

to the front like a chain we arrive.



Proud, but empty,

like shadows,

sun drying no tears we pauseÖ

standing,

alive.



Orders we took,

stood upright and true,

for more proud men to arrive.

To honour those many, that are now with the free,

the friends who have no more standing to do,

and those craving liberty.



All of us driven,

familiar names now,

Dunkirk,

El-Alamein,

Verdun.

A choice not made,

but a burning desire,

to see the triumph of good to be done.



Ask any of those,

and I knew but a few,

how much more would they give of their life?

To see good being founded in blood and in love,

to bring liberty the rest of our lives?



Ask no-one the price they will pay for such freedom,

for freedom has a value too high.

For if we succumb to the tyranny of evil,

then our lives are a passing goodbye.



He looked at my line,

and looked in my eyes,

my Grandpa who fought in the war.

He looked at my hand and then held it in his,

fishing down there by the shore.



He said no more to me,

he spoke in his love,

the love that he held in his heart,

For when Ö



Ösmiling gently he said, Ö

so thatís what it was, as he baited my fishing line,

Öjust proud women and men,

some didnít return,

fighting for the good of whatís yours and mine,



No flowers, no tears, bare hopes and bare fears,

as the North Sea broke on the shore.



Thatís what he said to me,

that day long ago,

my Grandpa,



who fought in the war.

1999

Paul Fryer
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