They took my boy to Loos.
He smelled of leather.
He died there at Loos
In trenches, of lead (they say).
They decorated the lads
No one was there to bless him.
Teeth turned seeds to bloom,
Eyes to roots, a grey below innocence
In the field they call
"Still in bloom."
You don't know the gods of the Somme:
They pluck off buds like moons;
Pale creatures turn fat and still,
Swell up and burst like balloons;
Nights are noisy with the charge of sepulchres.
When they took him away, I thought
I heard him wail; now he's down there
Making caissons out of poppies,
The boy we carved out of heaven's breath,
A boy with the powder of love.
Now just a breath of lead, the smell of steel.