Poetry by Jeff Green


Two minutes

by cricketjeff on November 4, 2008.  © Jeff Green, All rights reserved

Stand in silence out of duty and for love for all the brave.
Stand in silence in the memory of all who fought and died.
Stand in silence where you’re working for the men they could not save.
Stand in silence or their suffering’s denied.

Every second of this silence cost at least a million lives;
From the century that taught the world  a thousand ways to kill,
Making orphans out of children, making widows out of wives,
Our whole species, some may say, has fallen ill.

As we stand in contemplation of each nation’s bravest men,
Just two minutes every year to mark a debt we cannot pay,
We should look within our consciences and ask the question ‘”when”
Will we learn this senseless slaughter’s not the way?’

Every time you buy a poppy for the aid of those who’ve fought
You give honour to the heroes who have given all for you
Every war has seen the failure of the lessons that were taught
Faces turned toward the old and not the new

Ninety years now since the ending of the “War to end all Wars”
But we never seem to learn there has to be a better course.
If you think a bomb will settle things just take the briefest pause
And try to talk before you turn to force.

For a Kaiser or a madman or to save democracy,
For the soldier in the battle every bullet is the same,
He can be an Emperor’s minion or the free-est of the free,
He pays the price but doesn’t own the blame.

Stand in silence – just two minutes doesn’t seem too much to give.
Stand in silence and remember that they gave their lives for you.
Stand in silence for the innocents who have lost the chance to live.
Stand in silence for a chance to start anew.

Author notes

We do not have a “Veterans day” here in the UK the closest approach is Armistice day, commemorated in many countries of course, November the 11th when at 11am we stand in silence to remember all those who have given their lives in any of the services. It is also taken as a day to note and honour those who still serve and those who did serve but did not die. The poppy refers to the Earl Haig appeal by the British Legion where paper poppies are sold to raise money for the British Legion the major service charity here.