It seemed the noises in his nightmares
were the remains of his sanity exploding,
the last bullets of ambition rolling away.
When his dreams of flying planes
were dashed by colour blindness,
the cruelty and young blood of war
were witnessed at ground level
then locked away, too alarming to rethink.
Any god there might have been
was shot to dust in the arms of lost friends.
Death was a slamming door,
beyond which circled a black void.
Home again, he stayed unswayed
by frippery and fancy, took no delight
in the gentle pastels of first sweet peas,
silver moon-slivers, bluebells’ dense scent.
At the end, the very end,
believing his nurses were angels,
he struggled to shield his eyes
as he was drawn into pure white light
he alone could see.
Nicky Phillips lives and writes in rural Hertfordshire, where she’s a member of Ware Poets. Her poems have appeared in Brittle Star, South Bank Poetry, and SOUTH; at Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake and Snakeskin; and in various anthologies. She delighted in being involved in Jo Bell’s ‘52’ Project.