I watched the fledgling widow,

A charcoal figurine,

A transcendent remembrance vista,

White marble upon emerald green.


Determinedly she made her search,

Row upon row upon row,

Pausing every so often,

Before she made to go,


Onward, ever onward,

Until she found the very spot,

Where her true love was laid to rest,

He that time almost forgot.


There she knelt on one knee,

Dabbed her eye with handkerchief,

Bowed her head with courtliness,

Cold comfort begets fresh grief.


For her the search now over,

Little else could the widow gain,

Save to absorb those precious moments,

From afar I felt her pain.


Albeit that I am no photographer I took this snap at Étaples Military Cemetery.  It is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Northern France, near Boulogne. The cemetery holds over 11,500 dead from both WW1 and WW2. As I understand it Etaples in WW1 was never in the front line. It is a place where there was a hospital for the wounded. The poem, such as it is, is a figment of my imagination stood there as I was, quite overwhelmed – more so than when at some of the bigger cemeteries for reasons I cannot explain.




  1. Beautiful. I remember standing at Omaha Beach and feeling such an profound sense of sadness, as if I had personally known each and every soldier that died there. Wonderful poem.

    1. I have done the same. Sometimes out of idle curiosity yet a war grave is another thing. My musician son after visiting Etaples with me went back to the UK and wrote a song called ‘Just 19’ based upon the ages of the kids he noted in row after row. I wish he’d let me post the lyric – maybe after uni he’ll put it on a blog or such like.

  2. Étaples, now the site of a military cemetery, was once the location of gigantic British training base and supply station in addition to be the location of a hospital. I’ve heard that most British soldiers headed for the Front passed through here. Some believe that was the location where the Spanish Flu may have begun:

    1. Fascinating stuff Sir – the source of the Spanish Flu I had no idea about. When I next pop over the channel I shall have, thanks to you a fuller picture in my head. Cheers.

  3. Hi Mike. Brilliant touches the soul! Think of all those military and government suits who sent the men into these wars while so many of them sat safely back at home! The film that brings this home is “Oh what a Lovely War!” Here is shown the deep horror of War! Thank you for liking “Wish It Away!” Best Wishes. TheFoureyedPoet.

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