Grandfather Clock

Crepe paper hands
dark spots called Devils pinches
arthritic knuckles, gnarly fingers
hair thins as colour oozes out
veins scribbled all over a face
where lips no longer pout
and eyes loll in vacancy
the mind a voyage of some time past
barely recognises the present
or those it has begat

fine, strong man you once were
imprisoned aloft your tank
a frightened youth filled torso
where beating heart pounded
but you held fast for us
and for the legacy

your father’s Bugle
hangs on my father’s wall
before to his daughter will fall
still shiny
still capable of the call

digging your bayonet into
another 19 year old
when really you should have been doing no more
than throwing a ball across a playing field
instead of going to war

because of you
the world has ceased to fight
though many civil battles rage into the night
although calling any war civil
can’t be right
terrorist acts are rife

your life is not wasted

but I wonder where you are
as you slide down into your chair
in pyjamas of dried urine stain
the nurses hoist you up again
but you are not there

I am not sure what you would say to me if you could
if you understood
if I understood
I can only say to you
I have looked at you with all my love
and embraced that boy who went to siege
I have held you while you cried
and made it better
telling you it was not your fault
and shrinking you
made a place in my heart
where you fit forever
and we can exchange smiles

and when your clock finally stops ticking
and wounds no more there
for licking
your damaged body
our conscience pricking
I will hold you in my arms
til you pass over to a world where you are 18 years old
and whisper softly in your ear
because I believe you will hear

re write the script ‘Poppy’
be whoever it was
you really wanted to be

for now my love
you are finally free

Soaps 10.09.10

Grandfather Clock


Sydney, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 19

Artist's Description

My sister’s has my Great Grandfather’s Bugle now. We were told stories of how it saved his life when buried in a trench in WW1.

Possibly a tall story but nevertheless, my Grandfather, like many of yours I am sure, is my hero.



Artwork Comments

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