VETERANS DAY – A Close Encounter




D. McNamara


It wasn’t a wrong turn, after all

Away from Brugges to 



And the tears of frustration

After all that driving

And careful navigation

Were not, after all, for me


But for all “our chaps;” English,

Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Yanks

Buried in Franco Belgian soil


We don’t mention the wars now

But in the drive from Milan, north,

North through Switzerland

Up, up and away across the autobahn

The oppression was still there

Hovering in the bright clean air

And the beautiful skies, gleaming

Over nations fair.


The boys of World War I

Too many shed their blood

In the fields and the marsh 

And the mud

That we do not quantify

Nor name

The shame of bigotry

And Hanover’s sibling rivalry


This shame

Of brutality

Of repeated cruelty

Of contempt

For the empty arms 

And shattered hearts

of mothers



Your sons are alive

Do not weep

“They are not dead,

but sleep,”

In the heart of 

Another mother’s Son


I continued my drive

through the 

Swards of red and gold

Poppies and wheat and

Started to weep like one


I pulled over the car

And cradled my head

on the wheel on the

Road through the

Poppy Fields of Flanders


And suddenly my sadness ceased

I felt a profound and radiant peace

And continued my journey

No longer alone

But bringing home

The hearts of

Our brothers, fathers, sons and spouses


From that moment on

I was aided and blessed

By my brothers in arms

No longer oppressed

Guided in best ways

For the rest of the day

And I felt quite merry

On the Norfolk Line ferry

Which gave me to sleep

A crew cabin, clean and neat


But it was over too soon

Docking in Dover

By the light of a chalk-lit moon

“We” were home once more

On England’s much loved shore

A beautiful, glorious sight

O sweet and lovely Albion night

by Deirdre McNamara, Dec 17th 2005.  Revised January 4, 2006

“Poppies, Flanders” is dedicated to all men and women who gave their lives inthe service of Freedom and in a special way to Peter Balfour of Norfolk Ferries, an angelic guardian for the latter part of that strange journey through History and Time, to Home.

June, 2002.  Mild revision, Nov 9, 2007

Link to flier of Ladybard’s drama,  “NINE ELEVEN”


About ladybard

Playwright, composer, pro life. I was educated in the UK and Ireland before coming to the USA, where I have lived for most of my adult life. My plays and adaptations have been produced at St. Clement's Theatre, Theatre in Space, Symphony Space, The Cubiculo, etc. in NYC and my art songs performed at St. Peter's College, Newburgh Public Library, Goldwater Hospital AIDS Memorial Day, St. Elizabeth's Church, etc. I don't receive any grants.

One response to “VETERANS DAY – A Close Encounter

  1. Dierdre, What an incredible poem. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you for working with us in Scranton. Your blog is a delight and your account of those last four pre election days is a treasure.



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