Tea And Doughnuts

Hey everyone This afternoon I attended a memorial service at my local parish church to remember those all often forgotten when it comes to the casualties of war and that is those who were taken hostage and held as prisoners of war.

The service conducted by our ministerial team of the Reverend Malcolm Cuthbertson and the Reverend Alex Stuart was organised by a couple of local women one of whom is known to me on a personal level who were angry that the contribution of prisoners of war had been overlooked in the recent VE Day commemorations
Though born in the 1960’s as President Kennedy enjoyed his first summer in the Whitehouse when the world would allegedly undergo a social and attitudinal revolution. (These things always take longer in Scotland) I was brought up fully aware of the impact of the second world war and the part my own relatives had played in it. Seven of my twelve uncles either by bloodline or by marriage had taken part in active service, of the ones who had not only one was in a reserved occupation the rest were too young.

Thankfully, my dad, an 18 year old at the time the war ended was on his way to Japan with his comrades when they were told to turn back. Whether any of my uncles were ever prisoners of war I can safely say five out of the seven definitely weren’t but I can’t so sure of the other two though I don’t think they were as I’m sure I would have heard about it if they had been.

There is however one thing I am sure of and that is that every single one of them knew someone who had been. It is those men and women I and others gathered to remember and it was good to see members of the Italian and Jewish communities amongst the congregation and Baillie Martin Barat who gave a very moving and dignified speech on the horrors of war. It is honour of these men and women I have written this poem. I have given it the title Tea And Doughnuts I hope you find it an enjoyable and challenging read.

Tea And Doughnuts

This afternoon we gathered in a wee kirk on the corner to honour the memory of those forgotten by history ignored by the press
those for whom there was no heroes welcome.
no dancing in streets or celebration from a grateful nation just tea and doughnuts and years of silent hell
the service personnel who never fell in battle or returned after VE Day prisoners of war they were swept under carpets their problems wished away by a nation too busy rebuilding and rebranding
to show empathy or understanding to the walking wounded who were told to get on with their lives
they came home quietly beaten not by the enemy
but the indifference of those they served.
In this moment we remembered
giving them the dignity they deserved but never received
all they got was tea and doughnuts

@ Gayle Smith 2015


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