David 1917

David 1917.

“Non” you said.
“Non” and something like “le matin”
Grass stains on the lace of your petticoat.
Some one had said petticoat, now today.
I remembered your foot pushing towards my face through the grass.
Rubbed my cap badge clean on your petticoat, chemise?
Could we find it? Thought I’d lost it.
Field, water meadow.
Hung wet stockings over the grass.
Mistletoe, yes mistletoe in the trees, other side of that river.
Green woodpecker, red trees.
“I like birds” I said “Never seen that one”.
Wet in places.
One white stocking, like mist. Oh bloody hell.
A white line
A line creased into the flesh at the top of your leg,
Undone ribbons.
Cold collar stud, cold buttons and red marks.
Wet and sweating, you had hair in your eyes.
Wet legs, this lot think I invented it.
And wet again in the grass
Dampened the edge of your light grey skirt, dark.
All over, all disarranged.
A hat in the grass, black and shiny, painted straw, a little boater
With flowers a cheap Easter hat.
You had washed your hair and the hat stained your head, laugh.
No, non-, you said and you tied up your hair, tried to say no, in the morning,
Little solider in your very bad English.
Matin and I think you sang “Ave”, in Latin, ha.
I said, not my church, not my religion, couldn’t think of a useful God just then.
Watching the other side of the river
Could not see us.
They were honestly Gypsies, caravans and all
And a fire and later songs, bloody hell and black bread and potatoes, red songs and cheeks and nights and days, oh God.

It was a long time before I could afford you. Saved up, bloody stupid they said I was. Did nobody like you? The officers, yes.
No sillier than the rest of them I suppose.

David 1917


Joined January 2008

  • Artist

Artist's Description

My Grandfather in the Great War


france love war

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