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I’ve just had an email from my writing group member, Jenny, (you might remember I mentioned her the other day; she’s the one who’s the British Legion member) informing me that we’re in The Whitehaven News. Excellent stuff.

One of the poems Jenny contributed to the collection we did for the BL is about a former Whitehaven resident. I’ll not go into too much detail because you can see the whole article here (I especially liked this bit: “and it feels to me now like Richard Eaves wrote it for Nik, using me as the vehicle to get his message across.”).

And here’s the poem (great innit!):

Jenny Martin

Nineteen-fifteen silk postcard
hand embroidered flowers
and greeting
To dearest Mother on your birthday.
Pencilled message
‘Out with my pals
got this
hope you like it.
Love from Tommy.’

Shells scream, ears sing;
stars silent.

Nineteen-sixteen silk postcard
pink wild roses
leaves fresh green.
From your loving son.
‘I’m all right but
Love from Tommy.’

Lice, rats, barbed wire, entrails, putrid water
scum, slime;
itching, scratching, retching, thirsty.

Nineteen-sixteen silk postcard
fir trees
holly, mistletoe
Happy Christmas to my mother.
‘They said we’ll get some Christmas dinner.
Love from Tommy.’

Stacked corpses trampled

tree stumps jagged
bleached bones broken
in foetid cesspit, crying murder.

Nineteen-seventeen silk postcard
Je pense à toi.
‘Somebody told me it means
I’m thinking of you.
Love from Tommy.’


Machine guns


Silk postcard
hand embroidered cornflowers, poppies
Flowers of Flanders.
Pencilled message
‘These flowers grow in churned up ground.
Love from Tommy.’

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