Why do you droop, willows?
We remember the roll of hills,
the whole of roads filled with soldiers –
soldiers – soldiers.
Why are you silent, willows?
We remember the burst of shells,
the burn of skin, the boil of rage
bubbling – bubbling.
Why do you groan, willows?
We remember the ooze of wounds,
the stench of death, the stains of war
hating – hating.
Why do you creak, willows?
We remember the weight of grief,
the wail of loss and the wait for peace,
waiting – waiting.
Why do you weep, willows?
We remember the surging smashing
We remember the yearning writing
We remember the pounding quaking
all too clearly, all too often.
We weep because others forget.
Copyright: uncollected poem, © Laura Mucha 2020 first published in The Royal British Legion and The National Literacy Trust Remembrance 2020 educational resources, used by permission of The Royal British Legion, the National Literacy Trust, and the author.
About We Remember
I was commissioned by the Royal British Legion and the National Literacy Trust to write this poem for Remembrance Day. I threw myself into research, reading war poetry, watching films about war and going to the Imperial War Museum – as well as going to the National Memorial Arboretum. What really struck me was just how safe, calm and quiet it felt there, compared to the sensory onslaught of war. So I wanted to write a poem that captured that, I wanted to try to use words to bring to life something that can feel very distant for a lot of people. I was also interested in the idea of nature as a witness to what has happened – and what continues to happen –to those that serve, but also their families and civilians.