The Kohima Epitaph in Bishop’s Whickam

We were tidying up dead firework carcasses

throwing them to the embers of old fires,for fun

on the Sunday morning they were out marching

with their banners and their bugles.

We stood underneath a double-centuried Redwood tree;

all those straggly bits of wired sparkler stumps the children

had drawn circles of light in the night air,mesmerised

by mothers with their flashing I phones,memorially

oblivious of those hills of little shoes

an old dead soldier fought down.

No mockeries,nor prayers,nor bells here.

We found one that had not ca-cophed

from the old railway bridge and sent it up

in the brash cold sunlit air around eleven o’clock.

Laughed at the cloud smoke burst and Chinese shingle.

A photographer friend managed to capture a digital moment –

Three grown men who have had the privilege

of not going to War.

‘Well this is very civilised’,he said

‘Yes,we did alot of good out there and some of them

appreciate that still. I’ve often been offered that one.’

I suggest.

‘Didn’t the same people that pissed on your Grandfather

also piss on mine? Shall we get on.’

When you go home,tell them of us and say

for your tomorrow,we gave our today.

Peter Handley


Peter Handley was born in a small village next to what was Sherwood Forest in the first decade at the beginning of the end of the age of Aquarius. He has been variously described as an arty farty twat and an Indian Oscar award winning actor and writer. He is published in numerous literary journals, trained, amongst other places, at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and continues to tell stories and bullshit in all the right hostelries to promote positive growth all around the world and in his back garden. His first solo exhibition of works on paper is due out in a fancy gallery in Vienna late 2014.