In Cléguer Cemetery

Here in an avenue of stones
Algeria’s local veterans
take leave of one of theirs.
In not quite military lines
they stand, flags dipped. The priest intones
appropriate rapid prayers.

Though matters of small note have filled
the peaceful years since they were called
to make light of their lives,
in these who did as they were told
when young and strong, the stubborn pride
of fellowship survives.

The coffin slots into its grave.
Old men are harder to deceive.
They know they lost that futile war.
They furl the flags and seek the bar.

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington