Two minutes cannot hold them all:
the shuffling tick of hands cannot recall
the comfort of Tom’s footsteps on the stair,
Ron’s warm tobacco’d lips, cannot repair
poor wide-eyed James who wished himself a man,
return Maud’s burbling baby to his pram,
restore to Paul the limbs he left behind,
unspill Mark’s blood or patch daft Geoffrey’s mind,
draw back each biting bullet to its gun,
deliver home our fathers, husbands, sons.

Two minutes cannot hold them all:
the muffled tock of hands cannot recall
Frank’s bubbled laughter, John’s stern smile,
drag Donald from his trench to warm awhile,
cannot quell Alfred’s screams or un-gas Jack
or bring each scattered piece of Edward back
and yet we stand and let the quietness speak,
remembering stubbled chins against soft cheeks,
each private love we softly reavow,
time stilled, we pray they have their silence now.

Artwork by Casey Robin

Jennifer Moore lives in an old house in Devon, England, where she enjoys walking, photography and crafts. She is a previous winner of the Commonwealth Short story Competition, and is currently trying to learn Norwegian.

Menu