A Sign

Another poem, a short one, about the significance of things that didn’t happen, missed signs.


So when the distant soldiers came around midday

To the curious building in the foreign fields

Planted with unfamiliar crops they saw a sign

And casually debated what the thing might mean.

But rain encouraged them to shelter inside the place,

Chapel or school, and the sign was just another strangeness

Among many, and so in time they marched away

To the slaughter next day on the watching ridge

And then artillery and fire destroyed the shrine

The words were not spoken and the slug river moved on.


copyright Simon Banks 2012


No-one took me up on the challenge about the poetic influence on my poem “Assembly”. It was Dylan Thomas – as I said, not for the language but for the subject and the choice of imagery. He was always writing about birth and childhood with an eye on death.

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  1. because living life as if death were behind the door is the only life lived:)


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