Martin “Marty” Boyce

POPPIES

We always had some poppies in our little garden plot
Blood red on the outer in the middle a black dot
My father tended to them like a mother would a child
at times I saw a tear from him and other times he smiled

He told me of the poppies and the men who went to war
young uncles he had never met, who died on foreign shore
of the uncles who returned to die before my dad had grown
it was for them and many more the poppies had been sown

For mates that he had served with in a another time of war
who stood beside my father through the horrors that they saw
who gave their youth so each of us could grow up strong and free
like an ancient right of passage he passed their story on to me

When my father passed away we all placed poppies on his grave
Not because he was a hero, not because we thought him brave
we placed them in remembrance of a soldier we had known
who made sure we knew the story why the poppies had been grown

IWVPA Double Tap Award for War Poetry: January 15, 2011
Awarded: January 15, 2011
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This year I dug the soil and I planted poppy seeds
Now I tend to them like children deftly pulling out the weeds
they help me to remember dad and blokes I’ve never known
poppies grown with seeds from the first crop my dad had sown