If you have never visited the National Memorial Arboretum in the UK then it’s something to put on your ‘to-do’ list. After a very emotional day there I was moved to write this piece . The photographs don’t do it justice but hopefully give you a feeling of its powerful presence.
Stark stone slabs of cool mellow cream
hold secrets that, from far off, can’t easily be seen
but hold them covetously they most certainly do
and climbing the neat green bank you get, just the hint of a clue.
From way off the smooth monolith stood boldly impressive
but as you get closer its monumental status is coldly oppressive
its scale designed to be forever imprinted on every eye
in the names of lost souls, not all of whom needed to die.
Inside immense over life-size bronzes fashioned to represent us, the living
stand tall as stiff reminders of fallen comrades in their ultimate giving
the detailed power of the statuesque beauty crafted as hard skinned clones
manage to give a tangible link for the lives now cold cut, uniformly into the stones.
First impressions stored away, the wider, sadder sights are soon overtaking
as every heart maybe outwardly bold, quietly, inwardly, each one is quaking
as all around you from this magnificent bronzed bold epicentre
stand the chilled columns of those lost from centuries of calculated misadventure.
Stark stone slabs of mellow mottled creams
display what’s left of the thousands now, sadly, only held in dreams
unless you knew one or loved one or perhaps felt that you should have been one
they’re left chiselled and alone to be remembered, still, know that they are gone.
Look through these pictures and then please read the poem again. Armed Forces Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum