returned alive from Flanders mud,
but not the same man as before,
his life too stained by death and blood
He lived another fifty years
back in this world of life and light
and locked away the days of fear,
the stink of gas, the flare-lit nights.
But for two minutes, on one day,
the pause before the great bell’s chime,
his mind would travel far away:
A distant land, another time.
To see the faces of his friends,
a line of men now lost and gone,
and feel a guilt which had no end
that they all died while he lived on.