No Man's Land

The wind blew gently over the earth and the poppies danced in time. The sun shone brightly and the earth was beautiful.

I sat down on the marble bench and let the memories come.

Explosions in the distance, and the ever-present sirens fill the ear. Amid a clatter of machine-gun fire and bombs, Private Tim Walsh died in my arms. The cries of death in the makeshift infirmary could not match the simple vacuum that took my heart. He was but nineteen – we’d promised each other when we joined up that we’d never lose each other.

I let my head fall onto his torn chest and wept bitterly for a loss so deep it defied description. For the sounding of drums, for The Last Post and the Flowers Of The Forest. But at the end of the day, I wept for myself, for the man who’d have to carry on and brave it out, for the man who was left behind.

The wind took the plastic poppy in my fingers and bore it away. Sixty-eight years later, and the only No Man’s Land is here – in this graveyard of pure white crosses.

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