A Patch for Harry

The bullet whistled as it sliced through,

exclamations of delight,

at a second helping

 of Victoria Sponge.


Its copper casing rotated,

as it tore holes through letters,

written by lover’s

of the understatement.


It’s passing left ripples in air,

softened by the innocent shouts,

of those unaware

of the vastness of Space.


It cracked a cry of dawn chorus,

as it ricocheted off trees,

planted, by those,

who knew their place.


It tumbled a cartwheel,

across fields carved out,

by your grandfather’s,

grandfather’s plough.


It screamed as it flew over the mud

and the bodies

and the rats

and into Harry’s face.


And yet Harry lived on,

and on, and then he died.

And what,

shall we,

do now?

© 2012 Thomas Halvë

N.B. Whilst not written about him, this poem references Harry Patch, the last British survivor of World War One. Harry died in 2009.


12 comments on “A Patch for Harry

  1. Juliec says:

    Wonderfully evocative x

  2. I really like that first stanza, such a great detail to focus on. I’m curious as to your thoughts on your comma placement, though. Do you add them for visual structure or audio pauses?

  3. thomaswrites says:

    Thanks! Re: commas – you forgot to add a third option: complete grammatical ineptitude 🙂 Honestly this is the first poem that I have written since being forced to write them at school (about a decade ago for me). Punctuation is not my forte and the more I look at those commas the more I dislike the fact that there are so many of them. I shall embark on a comma pogrom and see how it looks afterwards. Thanks for pointing it out!

  4. thomaswrites says:

    and by grammatical ineptitude I think I mean punctuational ineptitude. In fact, on the face of it, just general ineptitude might be more apt haha.

  5. I really enjoy reading this poem, Thomas. I’ve returned to it several times and like it more and more.

    • thomaswrites says:

      Thankyou Polly! I really do appreciate your comments! I find the passing of that generation very significant – a real severance of ties to the world that went before. When I think of all the small things that bring/brought happiness to my grandparents, a slice of cake for example, and how insignificant they seem to my generation it makes me very sad. In fact I think I will write my next piece about it! Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. smzang says:

    A very powerful poem, Thomas.
    It most certainly awakens all the senses.

    • thomaswrites says:

      Thanks smzang! It’s honestly my first poem since I was forced to write them at school (ten years or so ago). Maybe I should write some more. I shall go over to check out your blog right now.

  7. vandysnape says:

    Amazing 🙂 Very beautiful choice of words.. Kudos 🙂

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