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Thread: Poppy Day

  1. #1
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Poppy Day


    Today, I saw redundant soldiers limping in formation past a giant war memorial. The shadow of its cross stretched out onto the tarmac road... the shape reminiscent of an old fashioned Junker bomber that haunted the marchers with flash backs of days in black and white.

    They stood side by side in institution once again; severed neurons glued and identity resumed: if only for a while. A trumpeter trumpeted the last post, before the thoughts of slamming torpedoes and bombs were replaced by slamming whiskeys and vodkas at the local village pub. Grievances long since aired, and youth still familiar in the handshake of comrades, glistened in the eyes of friends and family. Will of iron succumbed to the cheap ethanol, as senses tricked the subconscious in to being young once again.

    I watched as one old soldier, sitting by himself... stood up and quickly saluted; no one laughed, and glasses were raised in silence: time again for reflection. Pleasantries resumed as if at the click of a button, with the talk of how this yearís speech in parts, reflected last yearís speech in part.

    But in another village, around ten clicks away, disparity, a compounded legacy...

    A widow stands in front of a new cenotaph alone in the cold, flowerless. Her home is a trolley full of junk and rags kept in plastic bags, souvenirs of good times, and each item laying trace to an album that book marks inside a photographic memory. She stoops, following the brail of contours with trembling fingers, stopping at her husbandís name. His crumbled bones are now knitted in to the giant pillar, smooth like porcelain, entwined in his friends. He died in a much later war, leaving two sons that now run to the arms of carers. Vagrant and masochistic she revels, immersing herself in the past so as not to forget her lover, who traded the hearts and minds of his family, to win the hearts and minds of a conquered nation; fair trade, maybe?



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Is this a story for critique or what?

  3. #3
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Yes; you can do with it what you will, and i'll have a look. I do the same to others, and I thought that was the point?

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    I do the same to others, and I thought that was the point?

    Sure, but usually people give some kind of setup for what it is, what they're looking for in a crit, etc.

  5. #5
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Nicely done, in general, but there are two things that don't fit. First, you're talking about WW II vets and poppies are a symbol of WW I. (Flanders fields and all that) Second, it's not "clicks," but "klicks," because it's an abbreviation for kilometers.

  6. #6
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Many countries have a special day to remember those that fell in their wars; America has Veterans Day, while France has Armistice Day. The British commemorate those who fought, and are still fighting, in wars for their country on Remembrance Day (poppy day)

    You are right about the click, had it at klick, lost in the revamps... well spotted.


    Anything you can see, Rogue. Thanks!!!!

  7. #7
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    A Day of Remembrance would be a better title... if I am posting on American sites(which I am).

    Well done, Joe.

  8. #8
    nancy drew
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    The British commemorate those who fought, and are still fighting, in wars for their country on Remembrance Day (poppy day)

    And I'm in Canada, so "Poppy Day" didn't trip me up at all.

    I like it, Martin. I find the imagery rich: His crumbled bones are now knitted in to the giant pillar and severed neurons glued and identity resumed

  9. #9
    Page Turner
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Martin, I'm in Aus, and we have, traditionally, recognised the poppy symbol to be associated with WW1, but over time it has come to symbolise a recognition of a wider field. It was originally called Armistice Day. I quote the Australian War Memorial site: "After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead." Armistice Day originally recognised when the Germans called for a suspension of fighting at 11.00am, on the eleventh of the eleventh, 1918.
    As you rightly say, you are writing for an American audience, so a "a day of remembrance" would be appropriate. Note: no caps. Call me parochial, but to call it 'Remembrance Day' would be incorrect, and to my heart, a misappropriation of the title.
    That said, you write of a village. I assume then that your piece is set in England or another part of the UK(?) where villages exist. If so, and I'll happily stand corrected, wouldn't the distances be expressed in miles?
    Also, and again just a thought, I'd have thought these people would be more likely to be drinking beer? If it's Scotland or Ireland they may be knocking back whisky (Scotland); whiskey in Ireland, but I doubt that Vodka would be their drink.
    Aside from these comments, and they are comments, not criticism, I really like the mood and sense of what you have written. It captures the emotion of the issues connected with the times, and their legacy. As you will have sensed *L*, your subject matter is close to my heart.
    I really like, "flash backs of days in black and white", and "brail of contours with trembling fingers". These are highly effective, and affective, images.
    "A trumpeter trumpeted", is a bit dodgy: a little redundant (perhaps the trumpeter played, or reprised), plus, the last post may be played by a trumpeter (and often is these days), but more likely played on a bugle or cornet in a traditional ceremony. It depends how authentic/traditional you want you scene to be, and the time setting you intend. I'm verging on the overly pedantic now, so I'll 'pull my head in, and bugga off to my parochial, colonial, antipodean head space'. *S*
    I'd love to read more of this piece. Please share.

  10. #10
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: Poppy Day

    Thanks PT; the drinks policy will have to say as-is as far as spirits are concerned, I noted on the last couple of remembrance meetings that the old boys were guzzling it down more than Fosters, but having said that... it is right that vodka should be deleted, and rum put in place; you canít forget those Navy lads... Ďsplice the main brace.í

    Like the title also without the caps, and klick will be changed to kilometres, as it is set in modern day, err... Iím a bit despondent about the word entwined.
    In a sense, I feel it is my duty to get this spot on. Feelings still run deep in many of us... as Page Turner has just shown. In short, if I post this sort of work, the least I can do is have the respect to get it right.

    This is a finished piece, other than polishing, though I have plagiarised it in my book, all be it less poetic. My book, only half way through, has gone down well with whomever I have shown it to, and consequently... I have a very small publishing company interested, already. (I really donít mean to show off, and Iím sorry if it might come across as that way)

    Anyway, until itís finished, the shows not over until the fat lady sings, so Iím not out of the water yet

    Oh, and thank-you to you, Nancy Drew.

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