I remember those cold, comforting Novembers,
the way the damp hung in the air and soaked into you,
the way the outdoors was quieter and indoors louder
and how you could know, but forget, what lay ahead.
Once, I recall, as a boy, I went with my father
to the Legion. There I met his friends, veterans all,
heavy drinkers of course, middle aged by then, and one,
an elderly man, a small, shriveled, grinning gnome
of a fellow in the corner being plied with drinks.
A survivor of Passchendaele, whispered my father
as he introduced me and gave the man his offering,
the last one. It was years before I knew what that meant.
I am now as old as my father was then,
and he is as old as that little old gnome,
and yes, as shrunk and shriveled and just as alone.
The Novembers too are, in balance, the same,
perhaps milder, perhaps damper, I’m not…
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