Holymoorside Bowling Club has responded to the Parish council’s invitation to contribute to the WW1 Commemoration Event at the Village Hall on Saturday 23rd August in the the person of Moorside Writers’ John Pratt. He will present and read his poem, Summer Leaves, which refers to the price he and his family paid for his father’s brief participation in WW1.
It left him stranded, his island
out of hailing distance.
My treble voice thrashed out words
for him (and all the world) to catch:
that ash had fallen on his waistcoat
or that I needed to go to the lavatory.
Took the stage through a curtain of shame
– enter with dumb dad.
We settled for barren facts: short on
conversations, no jokes.
The moment was for others: ‘Tell that to Dad.’
His deafness stuck in my throat.
Once he knew the land of waking sounds
consonants just caught,
secret undertones, the hush of a lover’s breath.
Until his eighteenth year
could hear the heave of full-leaved branches
in the breeze: promises
of summers down his English days; before those
all unspoken weeks in France.