On our first visit to the war graves, when visiting our great uncles, we were given a copy of a Mike Edwards’ poem which talks about the first visitors coming to visit the grave of a serviceman. It’s a really powerful poem, and felt incredibly personal just as we’d been the first family members to visit. I have tried to find Mike Edwards to ask for permission to post this poem here, so far unsuccessfully. If you know where I might find him, or if it looks like I’m breaching any copyright, please let me know and I will delete it. This is presented, with sincere thanks to Mike Edwards, for such a great insight.
I half awoke to a strange new calm And a sleep that would not clear
For this was the sleep to cure all harm
And which freezes all from fear.
Shot had come from left and right
WIth shrapnel, shell and flame
And turned my sunlit days to night
Where now none would call my name.
Years passed me by as I waited,
Missed the generations yet to come,
Sadly knew I would not be fated
To be a father, hold a son.
I heard again the sounds of war
When twenty years of sleep had gone,
For five long years, maybe more,
Till peace once more at last had come.
More years passed, new voices came,
The stones and trenches to explore,
But no-one ever called my name
So I wished and waited ever more.
Each time I thought, perhaps, perhaps,
Perhaps this time they must call me,
But they only called for other chaps,
No-one ever called to set me free.
Through years of lonely vigil kept,
To look for me they never came,
None ever searched or even wept,
Nobody stayed to speak my name.
Until that summer day I heard
Some voices soft and strained with tears,
Then I knew that they had come
To roll away those wasted years.
Their hearts felt out to hold me,
Made me whole like other men,
But they had come just me to see,
Drawing me back home with them.
Now I am at peace and free to roam
Where ‘ere my family speak my name,
That day my soul was called back home
For on that day my family came.