Now, over the top they go,

alone and nameless,

their downward flight

where rock drops sheer.

The bouquets tied to railings

die more slowly

as the empty husk of peace

sounds a song of grief to end

all love.

It’s a town that looks for dignity

in war.

Showcased like the plesiosaur

among ammonite graveyards

cool behind glass,

he’s an alumnus,

a boyish bust to mother,

a shock to the syllabus.

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

has a blue plaque

on a tired white hotel

where poems were born in blood.

Did his rehab ward, his waiting room

have a view –

of tides relentless as shells,

their softness settling

only to lull?

In his silence

did seagulls slice deep through breath?

What called him beyond promontory,

bay and horizon,

like a lobster caged and craving

seas of fire?

And was all this, so postcard bright, so light and blue,

stolen without trace,

or did it guide him


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