This beautiful poem, titled “Time stands still” was written by Danielle Wootton after a visit to Etaples military cemetary in northern France, where her great grandfather, private William Horn was interred after he was killed there in the First World War, aged 32.
Time stands still for war graves covered in dust,
Surrounded by toiling gardeners not able to forget the bones beneath their feet,
Death fails to distinguish between national pride they are now soldier’s simply lying side-by-side,
Some made enemies in life for reasons not of their own,
Buried beneath headstones constructed from limestone brought as a memorial from home,
How the graves dazzle’s when the sun is out,
Looking all dressed up in their Sunday best here they wait in lines for people who may never come,
Other graves witness relative’s secrets untold to the living, The graves have no voice to care, they are at peace now,
Sorrow now rests with relatives who mourn a person they never knew but will never forget,
When the wind rustles through the graves shaking the trees, it is time for the relatives to leave, with their hearts on their sleeves,
The graves let out a sigh and yawn they can go back to sleep as their duty has
Time has stood still for the graves but not for us
Time Stands Still being read by Paul Kelly at Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea event in Weymouth in 2018.