This is a poem by National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, inspired by a visith to the cemeteries of the Somme in 2015. The poem was projected on the sied of Big Ben in Westminster as part of the Remembrance Sunday commemorations in 2016.
To these streets of neatness came rows on rows of lads,
keeping in ranks just as they did
when crossing no mans land
A hundred years have re-greened this ground,
that was blown up in moments of blood…
its entrails collandered… its surface unfleshed.
For these boys it was shelter from the storm of flying steel
and the turf doors shut quietly behind them.
They came from similiarly narrow streets
where pals were penned together
by the great adventure’s call,
till their homes winked their blinds
one by one.
Their graves are bone white
in this evening’s sunshine;
It chisels the names in perfect relief,
casts long shadows
No-one disturbs the neighbours’ oblivion.
just the occasional stranger
from a future they were denied,
who squints unknowing at the Braille of their names;
their doors, as always, all locked tight..
Ifor ap Glyn
National Poet of Wales