HEARTBREAK ETCHED IN STONE

I was visiting a memorial to my late father's first cousin killed in Ireland nearly a century ago.  

Next to it was a headstone that told a desperately sad tale of another's loss. 

................................................................................................................................................................................................

 

Heartbreak etched in heartless stone

Rang the saddest of sad knells;

The tribute of one left to cope alone...

A husband killed at the Dardanelles

 

Ye gods - the man was fifty five!

Too old for reckless martial strife;

Denied the right to return alive

To a teenage son and loving wife.

 

Then I read the words below

And knew that heartache hadn't gone;

Every fibre in me shouted "NO!"

At the death of the young son ten years on.

 

I stood there in awe of that widow's pain

Facing  the loss of both loved ones dying,

When through the gloom and the weeping rain

I seemed to hear a woman crying.

griefWar

◄ GRAVE WORDS

ROCHDALE AHOY! ►

Comments

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Dave Carr

Thu 8th Nov 2012 12:57

Very sad but beautifully told.
Dave

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 25th Sep 2012 16:42

Thank you all for the kind comments. The story told by that headstone lingered in my mind and the poem was the result. A form of therapy perhaps but it seemed worth telling. There must be so many other headstones long neglected that tell similar stories of human tragedy and this one stands beside that of my father's first cousin - shot down in another conflict just as many years ago.

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Hugh

Tue 25th Sep 2012 09:12

"Heartbreak etched in heartless stone" such a powerful sentence.Sorrow and sadness brilliantly transmitted in a sixteen line verse demonstrating the power of poetry.The last verse will instigate many dry eyes to flow tears of sadness.

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John Coopey

Mon 24th Sep 2012 22:29

Powerful and moving, MC.
I always feel moved by a line of simple white crosses in my home-town church in Hucknall. They are for 13 Polish airmen who fled Poland to continue their fight against Hitler from our local aerodrome.

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Lynn Dye

Sun 23rd Sep 2012 21:44

Desperately sad story, well told, MC.

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 22nd Sep 2012 15:57

Thanks Larisa. I confess to some moisture at the eyes upon realising just what those words in stone meant in human terms when dependence on "family" and not the state meant any chance of happiness and survival.

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Larisa Rzhepishevska

Sat 22nd Sep 2012 10:28

The verse dictated by the feelings. Sad poem but... to feel the pain of others....This is the highest purpose of poetry.

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