York in Poetry: The Old Boer War Monument

Posted on 25 November 2012 | Poem

Standing at ease in storm-weathered granite
eight soldiers keep an un-war-like-watch
on the civilian crowds that hurry across
Duncombe Place. In this season, under
the varied uniform stone combatants,
some of the open green lies fenced off
to make a small plot to hold small white
crosses dug-in and loosely regimented
with an emblematic poppy of Flanders
black-crimson pinned at the centre of each.
Each hour the cordoned ground expands
to receive more and more bereavements
of every nation that has, with bowed head,
soft-footedly approached on this November day.

- Paul Sutherland