How does a person measure grief? It’s not just a state of mind, it’s a mourning of the soul. A mind and heart that have become severely fractured need the help of time to heal the cracks as well as the love and support of loved ones. They have nothing left of the person they are grieving for, but the memories they retain. All those feelings of love they have running through every inch of their body are still there, they don’t suddenly disappear. What does a person do with all those feelings they are left with? Grief cannot be measured and there is no time limit to how long a person will grieve their loss.
Arianna glanced down to look at baby Ben, who was smiling up at her while gripping her little finger tightly. A tear slowly escaped down her cheek. “Hey Ben, that’s one strong hold you have there,” she said while watched him in awe. There was a sadness seeping through her veins that had held her hostage ever since Ben’s passing. The knowledge that her son would never meet his father tore her apart on a daily basis.
Baby Ben was now three months old, with beautiful brown eyes and exceptionally long eyelashes, which he’d inherited from his father. Arianna loved him with all her being and had taken to motherhood with natural ease. She took Ben everywhere with her, including the gallery. She had taken to going for long walks at the back of the church in Coleshill with Ben strapped to her front. She would sit down on the bridge by the river Cole and tell Ben stories while he looked up at his mother with wonder in his eyes.
Tristan was true to his word and remained by her side every step of the way. She had grown to rely on him emotionally and couldn’t imagine having come this far without him. Every once in a while, she was plagued by guilt for the way her mind tormented her. She would not believe her ever-growing feelings for Tristan were real; she was confused, they must be rebound feelings of some sort or another, a need to be loved by someone when she was feeling at her most vulnerable. She hated the way her mind tormented her and she fought her thoughts and feelings with all her being on a daily basis.
Arianna packed a small suitcase for herself and Ben for their upcoming trip to Brighton. The timing was perfect now to scatter Ben’s ashes. Tristan had organised everything, right down to booking the same house they’d all stayed in together on their last trip to Brighton with his brother Ben before he died. Arianna took a picture of Ben from her purse and glanced at it with a sad smile. “I will always love you, Ben,” she said, crying to herself.
Picking up baby Ben, Arianna walked into the kitchen and looked out of the window while she was waiting for Tristan to arrive. She patted Ben’s back gently as he started to drift off to sleep once again. Five minutes later, she saw Tristan pull up outside and smiled an affectionate smile as she watched him climb out of the car. She felt so lucky to have him by her side and yet she felt guilty for having taken up so much of his time over the last six months. He had his own life to be getting on with, she thought as she made her way downstairs to greet him.
“Hey, are you all set then?”
“Yes, all packed. Ben doesn’t travel light I’m afraid. I remember Casey teasing me a long time ago about mummy bags and I laughed at the time! Now here I am with a giant one of my own.”
“Look, let me take your bag and the suitcase and I will go and pop them in the car. I already have a car seat fitted for Ben so we won’t be needing yours. I figured we were always switching the car seat from yours to mine and vice versa so I thought I would invest in one. It makes things far easier,” Tristan said.
“That was a genius idea, Tristan, and yes, it makes complete sense.” Arianna carried Ben out to the car and handed him over so Tristan could strap him in the car seat while she nipped back and locked up the house.
“Okay, I’m ready when you are. Let’s go,” said Arianna eagerly.
Tristan glanced in the rear view mirror and watched as Arianna attended to Ben in the back seat. His longing for her was ever stronger and most days he felt like he’d been subjected to the worst kind of torture. There was no end in sight and moving on was simply not an option for him. He could never look at another woman the way he looked at Arianna and he simply didn’t want to entertain the idea of settling for someone else. He loved her with all his being and for now, just being in her life and close to her would have to be enough, however hard it was to endure. He promised himself he would never cross that all-important invisible line between the two of them unless he was assured somehow his feelings were reciprocated, and that didn’t seem likely in his opinion. Arianna needed him sure, she relied on him. He knew this but he’d convinced himself this did not equate to any type of feelings other than that of friendship. There were occasions when he’d caught her staring at him and there was a moment between them, but he gave himself a pretty swift reality check and assured himself it was down to all the time they were spending together and her appreciation of him for all he was doing for her, and nothing more.
He turned up the volume on his car stereo, sang along to Kings of Leon, and turned his thoughts to Ben. This was such an important trip and one he wanted to make memorable for Arianna as well as for himself. He missed his brother deeply. Ben’s passing had left a huge gaping hole in his life, one that would never be filled. He thought back to all the fishing trips he took to Brighton with Ben over the years and the fun they’d had when they were younger. He felt a sense of longing deep within himself, a yearning for love in his life, someone he could share the rest of his life with and be there for.
He remembered his mother’s words. We are the three musketeers, it’s us against the world, she’d said often to both himself and Ben. Now it was just one musketeer and he was feeling pretty lonely of late. Ben had said to Tristan in one of their last heart-to-hearts before he died, “Life places many obstacles in our path as we journey through life, it’s how we deal with those obstacles that shapes the person we become.”
It was just like Ben to impart words of wisdom to Tristan when he felt he needed them. Ben had become emotionally strong towards the end in the face of death and Tristan admired him greatly for that. He would always remember those words; every time he’d felt emotionally weakened over the months, those very words helped him draw inner strength.
Tristan remained strong for Arianna and baby Ben but when he was alone and behind closed doors, he shed many tears, freeing his emotions held captive deep inside of him.
TEARS OF ENDURANCE EXCERPT:
Arianna brushed away a tear as it slowly escaped down her pale cheek; she ambled over to her apartment window, which overlooked the quaint coaching town of Coleshill below. As more tears persisted and cascaded down her sodden cheeks, she watched as Justin threw his bags into the boot of his car and slammed it shut. He slowly turned his head and glanced towards Arianna’s apartment window, pausing for a few seconds before climbing into his car and driving off. After four years she found herself, once again, alone; she watched until Justin’s car was no longer in sight. His affair came out of the blue, and she had not been expecting it at all.
With a heavy heart, she slowly made her way from room to room, bagging up the remainder of Justin’s belongings, things that clearly were not important to him as he’d left them behind without a second thought; these were the meaningful things exchanged between lovers over the years, special cards they’d exchanged, the teddy bear she’d bought him on their last holiday and many photographs of the two of them together. Why me, why now? she cried aloud as she cupped her head in her hands and knelt down on her bedroom floor. Arianna thought back to the first time she had met Justin and how he’d melted her heart, unlike anyone before him. Believing he was forever. She never imagined, at 36 years old, she would once again find herself single and alone.
As she searched the bathroom for anything Justin may have left behind, she caught sight of herself in the silver art deco mirror situated above the sink. She paused and took in a deep breath, feeling her heartbeat increase. She ran her fingers through her natural, wavy, chestnut brown hair, which fell loosely past her shoulders. She wondered if she had let herself go over the last 12 months. She ran her fingers over her face and pulled it tight. Don’t make excuses for him, Arianna, she thought, feeling slightly angry with herself for even allowing the thought to take root in her mind and torment her. She glared into the mirror at her own reflection; her dark brown eyes, which were framed by long thick lashes, stared back at her, slightly red and puffy for crying. She sighed and tied the large bags full of Justin’s possessions into a tight knot.
Justin’s affair eventually turned serious and he’d made the decision to come clean with Arianna after six months of sneaking around behind her back and the odd “business meeting” which took him away at weekends. Arianna did not react how he’d expected her to; in fact, quite the opposite. She responded with dignity and decorum, like the lady she was and always had been. All she could say was, why? Justin simply shook his head, apologised and, after packing his bags swiftly, walked out the door without a backwards glance.
Arianna looked around her beautiful Grade II listed, 16th century apartment and thanked God that she had been sensible enough to keep the property in her own name. Only 12 months previously, she was considering adding Justin’s name to the mortgage so the property would be theirs and not just hers. That was going to be her way of showing him how committed she was to their relationship. Then they’d had an almighty row unlike any other. Justin said some awful things; he’d retracted them later but from then on, Arianna felt less confident about her decision to add his name to her property. Justin had had no idea about her thoughts and that she was considering adding his name. Her two-story townhouse was everything to her; it was the first property she’d bought as a young single woman and her dream home.
With all the original features maintained to the highest standards and the little wooden bridge that connected one end of the property to the other, it truly was a unique building.
A year after she had moved into the partially derelict building, she had had a full historic survey done on the property. The survey revealed some incredible historical facts. Her house was one of the few extremely old properties in the area. The beautiful wooden beams that were featured in every room throughout still had the original carpenter’s markings from the 16th century. Her property was once an old coaching inn and the horse-drawn carriages back in the 18th century used to pass through the cobblestone alleyway to the side of the property and pull up at the back where the horses could rest up and drink water.
When Arianna purchased the property in the old coaching town of Coleshill in North Warwickshire, it had been empty for a long time and needed a great deal of work doing to it. But she was not deterred in the slightest; the very moment she walked through the door into the partially derelict property, she fell completely in love with it. Seeing past all the work that needed doing, she envisioned the place complete and knew instantly that she had found her first home. The wooden winding staircase that led up to the main living area of the property was enchanting, the high ceilings went on forever and Arianna was completely smitten. The old wooden door to the living area was the original door and had a huge round iron ring, which was used to open and close the door. The bathroom door was the same, but much smaller and she had to bend her head before walking through. Banging her head after a night out and a few glasses of wine became a frequent occurrence!
She loved the beautiful sash windows and enjoyed dressing them with the beautiful curtains she’d had specially made by a local curtain maker who leased an exquisite quaint shop on the high street and came highly recommended by the locals. They draped the window perfectly and cascaded romantically to the floor. She’d bought old brass chandeliers for the living and dining area that complimented the rooms perfectly.
Arianna was so very proud of herself as she recalled the day she finally got the keys from the estate agent and walked through the door. This is all mine… she shouted, running through the building with child-like excitement, exploring every inch of the old property. There were a couple of old secret wooden doorways that you had to crawl through, which took you onto the roof and led you all the way around the property. It was a magnificent property and one she had bought very cheaply, due to the length of time it had been on the market and the amount of work that needed doing. The beams needed treating to protect the property against woodworm. The roof needed fixing, some rendering work needed doing, and that was just for starters. It took five years and every penny she had to bring the property up to scratch and turn it into her dream home. She maintained all the original features and employed a local handy man to help with all the interior cosmetic work such as painting, decorating, flooring, replacing all the skirting boards, and tiling. It was a labour of love and one she knew she could never part with.
She remembered the first time Justin had seen it; he too fell in love with her home and was very impressed with what she’d achieved after viewing the before and after photos. Arianna walked back into the living room with two large bags. The last of Justin, she thought sadly. She recalled the very first time they made love, right where she was standing in front of the sash windows. Tears welled up in her eyes once more without warning and fell down her reddened cheeks. She really believed he was the one, that they were forever, and she had even dared to imagine a family with him one day. Now it was all gone, four years of her life wasted on a man who was simply passing through.
She grabbed her car keys and headed out of the door after deciding to head into the city of Birmingham to do some much-needed retail therapy to cheer herself up. The M6 motorway was pretty clear so within 20 minutes she had parked in the large underground car park directly beneath the Bullring shopping centre. After buying a parking ticket and placing it on the inside of her car window, she headed for the lifts to the first floor. Today she was not going to hold back. Fed up with always being ultra-sensible, she decided to blow the money she’d saved up for Justin’s birthday present and spend it all on a new outfit for herself, complete with shoes.
As she ambled slowly around the shops, she couldn’t help but notice all the couples walking happily hand in hand, it was like having salt rubbed into a very deep wound, intensifying the pain she was trying so desperately to avoid. Picking up her pace and doing her best to adopt a positive attitude towards her unfortunate but altogether new placement into the world of singletons, Arianna swerved past an overly cute couple, headed into Selfridges and jumped onto the escalators to the fourth floor; the floor with the over-priced shoes and bags beautifully displayed and begging to be bought, the floor that she always avoided as if her very life depended on it!
Some 30 minutes later, she had blown all her money on a black leather patent handbag and matching shoes and no outfit, as she was all spent out. Feeling deliciously guilty and in shock at her impulse purchase, she headed straight for her favourite coffee shop opposite Mama’s and Papa’s Baby Boutique. She took a seat and ordered a large slice of cheesecake and a coffee latte. Smiling to herself, she placed her bag neatly on the spare chair beside her. Here’s to a new life and a new beginning, she thought to herself as she popped another spoonful of cheesecake into her mouth. After she had finished her latte and spent a few minutes’ people watching, she was ready for home.
As she made her way to the car park, the upcoming event at her gallery sprung to mind. At least I can throw myself into my work, she thought as she picked up her pace and ran to catch the lift, which was about to close. Arianna had roped in the help of her two part-time assistants to hand out flyers for the event as well as placing a handful in all the local shops and restaurants. She had placed a small advert in two local papers and sent out personal invites to those on her important mailing list.
Having only acquired the small art gallery two years previously, Arianna was putting in all the hours God sent. It was a lifelong dream, one she thought would never come to fruition; but her hard work and determination were finally paying off. As well as showcasing local artists from time to time, Arianna also sold limited edition prints and cards to make ends meet, as well as original works of arts from local artists. The prints sold very well and helped to keep her gallery afloat. Arianna was very innovative and was constantly conjuring up new ways of using her gallery to its fullest potential. She was well aware of how difficult the market was in her business and being situated in a small North Warwickshire town made it all the more challenging. The gallery was spread out over two floors. The first floor displayed all the prints and original artwork for everyday customers and the second floor was her exhibition space, the heart of the gallery and where she showcased local artists. This was also the space she hired out to local businesses wanting somewhere more distinctive to entertain their clients.
She leased a small two-floor studio on the high street in her local town of Coleshill; the rates in Birmingham City Centre were far too high and way outside of her humble budget. Arianna called it the Freedom Gallery of Contemporary Art. It had always been a name that inspired her, the freedom to express yourself through art. She had showcased a few wonderful local artists over the last two years as well as one or two upcoming names in the region. The gallery had seen a small and much welcomed profit over the last 12 months and this upcoming event was to be her most profitable yet. The future of her gallery relied on it; this event could possibly put her gallery on the map and more work would hopefully be sent her way. She was extremely excited about her latest discovery, Oliver Steen, an incredible artist with a unique talent that knew no boundaries.
Arianna was well aware that the plaudits don’t just come rolling in. You’re suddenly out of the studio and into the art world where a unique protocol prevails, and getting to know the territory, particularly from the perspective of the critics, collectors, consultants and advisors, was paramount to the success of the gallery and the artists. Art had to be displayed at its ultimate best in the right exhibition space, the best layout, and under perfect lighting. These factors made the difference between sales or no sales. Arianna could not afford for her event to go badly, knowing all too well that as the owner of the gallery, she has to sell enough art to make her expenses. In order to minimize the chances of losing out financially, she had developed her own special skills, talents, rules, preferences and ways of doing business. Creatively presenting and selling the merchandise as seamlessly, productively and mutually satisfying for her and the artist as possible. This was what she did best and she loved what she did with a great deal of passion.
Arianna made a mental note to call Oliver, the artist she was showcasing the following weekend. She needed to be sure he was ready and there would be no last minute hiccups. Oliver was a superb artist with exceptional talent, he’d approached Arianna’s studio six months before and a great partnership had formed. She had loved his work and immediately offered him the exhibition space in her gallery. A few weeks later, the contracts were signed and the date was set.
A few hours later, Arianna picked up her landline phone and punched in Oliver’s phone number.
“Hello.” Oliver’s quiet, understated voice echoed down the line.
“Hi Oliver, it’s Arianna. I’m just checking in with you regards your show next weekend. Are you ready?” There was a long worrying pause at the other end of the line. “Look, Oliver, you have to be ready now, there is no going back. The invites have been sent and the word is being spread all over town as we speak. This is your chance to express your creative ideals and inspirations into previously unexplored territory by debuting your work in a serious venue. You have an incredible talent, Oliver, and I really believe this show will catapult you into the world of upcoming artists. You are one of the most talented artists I have seen in a long time. So please, trust me on this and no getting cold feet, okay?” Arianna waited patiently for a response. Oliver was a man of few words and did all his expressing through his work.
“Sorry, Arianna, I have been feeling rather nervous recently. The closer the show gets, the less confident I feel. I guess my confidence is betraying me this week. I am ready, I promise, so please don’t worry, there won’t be any last minute hiccups.”
After reassuring Oliver that all would be well, Arianna rang off and decided to look through the RSVPs she had received over the last few days. The response had been overwhelming and she was beginning to wonder if there was enough space for everyone. Well, a full gallery was better than an empty one; she smiled to herself, feeling exceptionally proud of her achievements over the last two years. Despite her breakup with Justin, she was not going to allow this to affect her work. Keeping busy with the gallery would help take her mind off her private life; well, what was left of it anyway.
BROKEN WINGS EXCERPT:
They stood naked in the shimmering cool water; the warm March night was calm and still, unusual for the time of year. The moon shone beams of light onto the vast lake, shadowing the curves of their naked bodies. Neither said a word as they looked deep into each other’s sad eyes, their united silence saying so much. Angelina did not want to let him go, fearing she would never see him again.
Joshua smiled. “I will come back to you, I promise.”
Angelina placed her head on his chest, tears falling down her reddened cheeks. “I could not bear it if I never saw you again, please don’t go,” she pleaded with all her heart.
“I have no choice. You knew when we met that this would be a possibility, Angelina. I will be back before you know it. This is my duty as a soldier, I have to go, this is what I do.”
She felt her heart closing in, the tightness was suffocating her. All those young men who never made it home alive… She did not want her Joshua to be one of them; however, she also understood that he needed to go along with the rest of his regiment. This knowledge did not make it any easier to bear. She had a bad feeling about this posting in a way she didn’t have with the other one. She just could not shake it off. Joshua had informed Angelina that he was being posted to Afghanistan for a second tour. He had an urge to share his inner fears with her but he held off, knowing this would make his leaving far harder for Angelina to deal with.
This was their last night together and they had decided to spend it down by the lake, their very special place. This was where they had spent their first official date together. That first date had sealed their rare and irrevocable feelings for one another; feelings that could not be denied. They had never looked back. When they were together, it was as if the rest of the world didn’t exist and time stood still, just for them. Joshua fought his undeniable feelings with all that he had, not wanting to get involved with anyone, knowing he was being posted soon. But the draw was too strong and the fight was over before it began. He was mesmerized by her. Angelina was deep and sensitive, the suffer-in-silence type. He liked that about her. She was unlike anyone he had ever known, she understood him in a way no one else ever had before.
Angelina wanted to hold Joshua, never let him go and keep him safe from harm. She held him so tight as if her own life depended on it. “I love you so much, Joshua, please come back to me.” She was crying uncontrollably now, her head buried deep in his chest.
He took off his ring that had been passed down to him by his grandfather many years before and placed it on her finger. “I promise you when I return, I will make you my wife.” With that, Joshua kissed her gently on the lips. He hated leaving her; he knew this was as hard for her as it was for him.
“Joshua, when you’re gone, time stands still until you return to me. I can’t move forward or backward. I can’t sleep because of worrying about you. There are so many soldiers returning back home in boxes. Every time I turn on the TV, there is a news item about a young soldier not making it back alive, the families left behind tormented by their grief.”
“Last week, there were two soldiers from the West Midlands who were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan headlining the news. What if that happens to you, Joshua? I know the loss you suffered on your first tour of Afghanistan; that could so easily have been you. You are my very reason for existing so you better come back to me. Do you hear me?”
Joshua looked into Angelina’s beautiful almond eyes. He wrapped his large arms around her and held Angelina tight. “I love you with all my heart. I promise I will return to you and then I will be back for good. I will not be extending, I promise you, and it’s only six months. It will fly by. I promise I will write to you all the time.” Angelina could not stem the flood of tears falling down her cheeks, she could hardly breathe from the fear that this could be the last time she ever saw him alive. Joshua ran his finger slowly over the small scar etched into her right eyebrow. He held her face in the palms of his large hands and kissed it, brushing the tears from her sodden cheeks. He felt her pain. He was feeling it too. No words could take their pain away; it was something they had to endure together until his return.
They lay on the bank together side by side with nothing but the glistening stars and the glow from the moon as cover. Their silence was a comfortable one, one that could only be shared by two souls that truly understood each other completely. Angelina turned her head towards Joshua and looked at him intently, taking in every inch of him, searching his face as if discovering him for the first time. Her heart was beating so hard she feared it would burst. Joshua sensed her anxiety and pulled her to him, “Angelina, we have to go now. I wish I could stay here like this with you but I have just five hours before I have to report in.”
AMELIA’S STORY EXCERPT:
Amelia’s Story (Part I)
A Childhood Lost
I did not know what it was like to live without fear, or to wake up in the morning with my mother in the kitchen getting breakfast ready. I woke up each morning to closed curtains and mother still in bed drunk from the night before (nursing a bad headache). On days like these, Jake and I awoke to our bedroom doors unlocked and can only assume she thought to unlock them in advance of her drunken spree while we were sleeping. We had to prepare our own breakfast every day (Ready Brek and Cornflakes were a favourite I recall)! During the winter we would favour porridge, but there was no microwave back then so we would have to make do with cold milk if mother was unable to get out of bed.
I could not reach the cupboards and so I would stand on a chair and climb onto the high kitchen top! After feeding and dressing ourselves, we would go out the front of the house and play with the other children. More often than not it would be near 1 o’clock in the afternoon before our mother surfaced, and always in a bad mood, shouting and screaming because we had left a mess in the kitchen. After she had berated us to the point of bringing us to tears, mother would then throw us out of the house and shout further abuse at us, in front of the other children. We would not be allowed back into the house until after dark, but this suited both Jake and I.
During the hot summer days, we would play with the older children from our square, and often all head down to the wide river, with over hanging trees. The other kids had been going to the river long before Jake and I, and they had made a makeshift swing out of an old tyre and a bit of rope (we thought this was the best thing ever)! We spent whole days hanging onto the swing and would jump off into the deep river below without any fear at all! Those days away from our mother were good days…and earned a place in my memory bank for the future which was pretty empty.
We also spent many summer days scrumping in an old orchard attached to an old ruin near Madley School. The orchard was well stocked with damson trees, pear trees, apple trees, and plum trees, and many blackberry bushes. We would be armed with old Carrefour plastic bags – lots of them – and all would eventually be filled with fruit until they were bursting, forgetting we would have to carry them all the way home! Jake and I would climb to the top of the trees teasing each other – seeing who could climb the fastest. There were many times when we would slip and fall, but this did not deter us, we would get straight back up onto our feet and within seconds we would be at the top of the tree again! In the grounds of the old ruin there was a sundial several hundred years old – I remember this so well because I was transfixed by it as a child, thinking it was beautiful. Just outside the front of the old ruin was a small lake, which we used to skim stones into. We would hold competitions to see who could skim the furthest!
I believe this old ruin has now been made into a luxury hotel. However, in those days this beautiful old building with large over grown gardens was our place – Jake and Amelia’s secret place faraway from the clutches of our evil mother. At the end of the day, we would carry our bulging bags all the way home in the hope to please our mother, and on these occasions, for just a little while, she would smile, accept the fruit and start baking apple pies, blackberry pies, and plum pies. They were delicious. Our mother was a great cook and produced great wholesome food. When she was on form she could be quite pleasant during her more peaceful periods … but it never lasted. Not ever…
AMELIA’S DESTINY EXCERPT:
Amelia’s Story (Part II)
Finding my way
The old ruin was just how I remembered it, still very much a ruin, standing tall in all its majestic glory! UN touched by human hands. The beautiful orchard remained as effervescent as always with its sumptuous fruit trees over-flowing with a plethora of pears, apples, and damsons! I woke very early with the feel of the warm sun on my face like a gentle comforting hand; I stretched my arms and walked over to the aged stone bird bath still half full of water from the recent late summer rain. I splashed some water over my face before walking over to the apple trees which were baring fruit already; I plucked an apple from a low hanging branch and took a big bite.
I sat down against the sundial while I gathered my thoughts for a moment, I had made my decision, the only decision I felt I could make. I would gather my things and walk the three miles to my mother’s home. This was not a decision I had made lightly at all, I just knew the only other option left open to me at this time was to book into one of those awful hostels and that was too much like going back a step as far as I was concerned. By going to my mother’s at least I was too big for her to hit now or lock into a room. I needed somewhere to live and I had nowhere to go and not enough money to support the amount of rent required of me. I just hoped that she would at least afford me a bed for a short while so I could gather enough money from my day job to move on and rent my first home, after all that was the least she could do surely.
I set about on my walk, it was such a beautiful morning, the birds were singing and the sun was shining, the sky was bluer than I had ever seen it. I was feeling very nervous inside and wondered several times on my walk to mother’s house what on earth I was thinking of. I tried to remove all negative thoughts to the back of my mind. As I neared closer to the estate where my mother was now living I felt quite sick all of a sudden, flashes of my childhood came streaming back all at once. I stopped for a break and sat down on a bench near a park. I watched the early morning joggers fly past breathing heavily, and the dog owners walking their beloved pooches. I took a deep breath and stood up, there was a saying, “Just put one foot in front of the other.” So that’s what I did, until I reached my mother’s house.
(An anthology of war poetry)
A wounded soldier on the ground,
The sound of gunfire all around.
A fleeting thought passes through his mind,
As all his comrades are far behind.
No one is winning, only death,
To collect the ones who have breathed their last breath.
This moment of clarity he understands,
When he reaches out with an extended hand.
To the soldier beside him who has been taken,
By death waiting he was not mistaken.
He closed his eyes, accepting his fate,
Praying for God to open his gate.
(Dedicated to my grandfather who fought in WW11)