Today was an extremley emotional day for me. I searched out my soldier at the Thiepval memorial and found his name. There he was. Finally this person I had heard about and researched. However seeing my soldier up on a wall completley covered with soldiers that were never found was heartbreaking. This man is part of my story, my family, my identity and here he is without a grave. I lay my cross down at the memorial, on it I inscribed « For Albert Smith » « In remembrance and loving memory from all your family at home. » Then I gave my tribute to my soldier the best way I know how, through poetry:
Here lies a man,
an etched name into a piece of stone.
A life for a piece of stone,
a small rememberance
for the love of someone’s life
a father of someone’s child
a smile on someone’s face as they rush to meet him down the cold London cobbles.
You died once on a cold field,
without the people you loved
without seeing your child’s first steps.
You died then alone in the cold.
You won’t die again.
I won’t let you die.
I won’t lthe memory of you be lost,
Let your name fade from this stone,
As the sands of time fall into forever,
I will hold them back
Won’t let the grains fall through my fingers.
Take thistime to think of yours.
I’d like to think you’d be proud that now,
Your blood that was split
Runs through my veins,
And my mother’s veins
And my Grandmother’s veins.
That you will always live through us.
And thus time may continue
And as i travel the journey that you one took
I think now how rain can never wash away blood,
how bodies can never pick themselves up.
That families can never pick themselves up.
That families can never sew up wounds that aren’t visible,
but gape open with loss.
That time is easily forgotten but impossible to erase.
– Alice Vines