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Untitled

To my Grandfather: Hal Stokes,

I have never met you.
The pictures I have seen are old snapshots in black and white
of you standing tall and unsmiling.
My family tell me the stories of your achievements.
You are a war hero: My father proudly showed me the newspaper article
dating back to World War 2.
The article tells of how you found a way out of the desert in Egypt and
saved many lives.
I also heard that you shot an Italian soldier from a kilometre away.
This was an order; you were the best shot and that cocky Italian
“needed” to be killed.
I hear you were a brilliant cricket player and an all-round good sportsman.
Must be that accurate eye of yours.
You are my mother’s father but she never spoke of you,
it is my father, who informs me of all that you have done,
particularly in the war.
He mentioned the other day that after the war you were different.
He has never met you but I think he knows what war does to a person:
he fought in Angola.
You died of a wasted liver before any of your grandchildren were born,
you died when my mother was eleven.
In hushed voices I am told that you liked to drink
too much, too often.

I found a gold band in grandmother’s jewellery box,
it reads: Tiny from Hal 16~5~49.
I now wear it on my wrist ,and
nobody has told me its story because
I don’t think they know what it is.

Untitled

megapplepie

Joined October 2007

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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