Harry’s Last Standards, For Mr. Harry Leslie Smith

‘The sepia tone of November’ has gone,
wrote Harry Smith, aged ninety-one:

Seeing worn-out, blood-red, poppies as lies:
Pinned politic medals for cut-back lives.

Dignity: for aged, infirm, unwell,
should not be hacked down, so this state can sell

the last shards of a now-curtailed reward,
gained fair, in blood dried, post-war, accord.

‘A too-weighty burden’, ‘a fat cash cow’,
‘needs to be slaughtered, put it down, right now.’

War-won promises of a better world:
Instead they insist that respect is culled.

On Harry Smith’s lapel no poppy spun:
For him the Old Wars are still to be won.

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