‘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.