i.m. Robert May, died July 1st, 1916
‘God might…’ he wrote, by way of ending his letter
from the trenches, but any thought he held
of saying more to his friend, your grandfather,
stopped, the shell upsetting everything
in his vicinity, the pages blown free by the blast,
and with them his ‘Thanks for the razor,
it is a good one’; his ‘Sorry to hear about Tony,
such things will happen’ – war or death
not otherwise referenced; his ‘I have said all until
the next time’ left hanging as he is tossed
into the air, a few drops of his blood splashed against
the floating white space he must have looked
hard at for a moment before deciding
to settle on the beginning of a hope or a blessing.
Patrick Deeley is a former primary school teacher and principal. His poems have been widely published and translated. Groundswell: New and Selected is the latest of his six collections with Dedalus Press. His memoir, The Hurley Maker’s Son, appeared recently from Transworld.