In The Flanders Bleak




In The Flanders' Bleak' The title of this poem, in part, references Christina Rossetti's poem and hymn of the winter season, as the main body of the poem reflects November, Remembrance Day/Poppy Sunday, the Act of Remembrance and Remembrancetide. The poem also echoes personal loss to conflicts of the past and near past, where notions of cherished freedoms are conflicted by feelings of loss, duty and abiding love.

When there is no one, in the nothing,
for the mid winter has begun,
then, will you beckon,
wreath laden,
ardent as morning sun and so light lovely,
arms wide, chest opened,
leaking only a such sun brightness, so fine, so golden –
and of the first, the foremost, are you,
wading much tender sheaves, beaded soley, with morn-dew,
quite unlonely, like cautious sweat, stained, only,
with such fresh meadow, herb-like blood, wet,
cool as a striven, striving stream, yet,
your kind brow, gleams, thought wrinkled,
a frown, that I shall never forget –
where, here, still awaiting, you are not afraid,
only awaiting, what will be –
when there is no one, in the nothing,
for the mid winter has started,
sombre, cold gazing, all bleak and so day short,
where half-hidden amid your barley words,
abides a sacred, silent remembering,
where time is still golden leaved, fine worldly, only,
all misty and so light wondrous,
where still, if just momentarily,
between the gilding of leaves and their wafting away,
we find your unconquerable sacrifice,
among fragmented scarlet leaves,
and a freedomhood of blessings,
for within that momentary, silent time of never again,
when there is no one, in the nothing,
for the mid winter has begun,
then – I shall return,
to lay wreaths,
ardent as mourning, in your arms.

More from Poems

Heathrow Airport Toilets


This poem was written during lockdown last year. I am lucky to have my local park, Hilly Fields, opposite my...


Moments of connection were so precious and effort was made with a simple smile in unexpected places and from people...

Become a Member

Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.