A letter from the Prime Minister,
Would be consumed by the flames,
Along with the previous documentation
And the confirmation of their deaths:
Including her sons’ pitiful names.
A shilling from the King,
Remunerating for losses,
Would be scorned by the neighbours,
Along with the spurious vilification
And the defloration of their friendship:
Ignoring her sons’ lamentable labours.
An insult to the Monarch,
Apportioning the blame,
Would be instituted by the mother,
Along with the furious disrespect
And the neglect of her duty:
Interring her sons, one after the other…
A candle to Frederick,
Burning for life,
Would be confounded by the disappearance,
Along with the nauseous trace
And the face of her boy:
Invoking her son’s fate of abhorrence.
She lost five of her six sons during the First World War, the other falling to illness soon after the hostilities were over. Frederick was never found, along with a handful of others, who were defending a position at the Somme. His mother kept a candle burning in the window in a vain hope that he would return. Given a shilling for each son’s death, Annie was shunned by villagers in Great Rissington, due to jealousy over the pensions she was receiving. She would no doubt rather have received her boys home.
She blamed the King.
Apparently she refused to stand for the National Anthem at a school gathering.
The family burned documents and moved away from the village.
Can’t blame her…