For Paul Spicer, and the Birmingham Bach Choir

For Paul Spicer, and the Birmingham Bach Choir, in thanksgiving for our own commemoration in 2014.

(for the centenary of the Armistice, 2018)

Places I won’t visit again, or you.
Places of the rainfall, still,
of men reacting to stumbling,
falling horses, of the slow choke
of all I couldn’t say to friends
lying far behind us, miles away.
Moving on, resting in the stub
of a church, my bleeding back
against the bellow of a fallen bell.
Not a word, nor the village
nor the church rebuilt, nor
the doctor’s car retrieved
from the wide-mouth main street,
but, rather, a forest among the poison
of the immoveable shells,
and birds stripped of names.