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The willow flower turns light grey to green to a colour

between light dry sand and gold.

He taught me to pick young hawthorn leaves,

as we walked our way beneath the trees

in those long ago days, he called them bread and cheese,

good to settle our empty stomachs’ yearn,

good too to kill a thirst and stop endless words

of a child hungry to know more of the world.

The boy wanting to know much more of life,

dragging words out of a silent war veteran,

tallest silent man, who’d seen too much,

and had nothing to say to the child, his son.

Hawthorn leaves picked small, tender and brightest green,

baked in flour, a way of surviving the hardest years,

remnants of taking what the land could offer,

to supplement a working man’s food in Spring.

Memories handed down from father to son.

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©robcullen170819 RMCullen’s enlistment card at outbreak of war 14 June 1939.


Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

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