You may think that they watch over you—
ancestors, martyrs killed too young.
But there is no living they walk among.
Remembered solely where coins tinkle
In the funds of merchants whose eyes twinkle
With the promise for profit off the dead—
There lies their deathbed.
Fields of mud became prosperous towns
Where children’s fairs and games
Make for better-sounding names
Than the ever-silent burial grounds
You may believe in the power of marble stone
Or in the shadows of the spiritual unknown
But in Ieper lies the intolerable truth:
They are not there, and they have never been
Ever since war put an abrupt end to their youth.
There is no hope, or ghost of theirs to be seen
They are gone;
and this is it.
Edward Ashworth was born in Corsica but gained an interest in British history & culture after teaching himself English. He has been awarded several prizes by the French Ministry of Education and the French National Veteran Office for his work on the First and Second World War.