Not here the guns and bayonets,
the barbed and twisted wire;
the trenches and the foxholes,
the bombs and bloody mire.

This is another battle
with harbingers of death
and regiments are fighting
with every living breath.

For everyone’s a hero
who has served and played their part,
the front line and the rearguard,
with mind and soul and heart.

Yet, though they’ve been applauded
and we have stood in awe,
crisis followed crisis ...
how could they take much more?

But, from new depths of duty,
compassion found a way
and hope shone through the rainbow
as night gave way to day.

Our Majesty now takes the lead
and with her we confess
our deepest debt of gratitude
to our great NHS.

(c) 2021 Graham Oakes

Response to ‘The Other’ by RS Thomas

As part of the RS Thomas Poetry Appreciation Group we have been asked to write a poem in response to one of his … this is my first attempt which I posted to the group today … you can find his poem on the Intranet … it’s a beautiful read.

There is a 
wakefulness that
is not bound 
by the margins
of sleep;
an awareness that
is constant and
alive. Alive to all
there is in the
infinity and
of being.

We could not
bear it. Only One
who has borne 
our weakness and
broken our chains
hears and listens,
watches and sees,
across the ocean
that separates
and calls us