Remembrance Day




Remembrance Day  
  She stands in the cold
Her black cloth coat
Suits the occasion
But fails to keep her warm
Despite the gleam of silver
At her breast.

Her thoughts circle round:
"Why did we have another war?
Didn't we lose enough men already?
Why did my sons have to die?
O God, keep me upright.
Help me not to scream
Out their names."

"What will we have for dinner tonight?
What would Joey and Bill have wanted?
It's so hard to have faith...
It's so hard to have hope...
Why did my sons have to die?
Jesus, you comforted your mother
As she stood and watched you die.
If I pray hard enough
Will you bring comfort to me?"

"If that preacher says 'Noble Sacrifice'
One more time I'll scream...
I'll scream out their names
So hard the dead will hear me.
Only this time, I'll scream out loud
Instead of in my heart."

But she doesn't scream...
She stands beside the Honour Guard
Who are older than her sons
Were when they died.

The people nearby watch her,
Wondering how she can stand
So still, so calm,
Knowing she lost two boys,
Thinking she has lost her grief
After all these years
When to her it might
Have been today.

Clare Stewart
© 20 November, 2000


Each year, as I watch the Remembrance Day Service from Ottawa, I am moved by the courage of the Silver Cross Mother, the woman who represents all mothers who have sent their children to fight in Canada's wars. I wrote this poem in tribute to these brave women.