Ten minutes it took, today
to place a dead child
into the bosom of her dead mother,
dressed in her green body bag,
ten minutes to cover them both in sand
to declare the deed complete –
while the drones continued on
while a shot was fired
while a man was rammed by a car.
And the mother did not have even one minute
to wipe the blood from her child’s face
or to settle there a farewell kiss
or to utter a word to her husband
or to brush the fingertips of hope
across his cheek.
And today in Mons, in Liège, in London
they remember a different war
listen to a trumpet’s salute
the notes rising, rising, rising, like questions…
What have we learned?
Does death wash off our blood and our tears?
Do minutes and years wash it all away?