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January 22, 2017

On Remembrance Sunday last November, as in 2015, Maureen and I stood to attention during the two-minute silence, before candle-lit photographs of our dear brave dads, both of whom served in the Second World War, hers in the Army, mine the RAF. Both thankfully survived but are no longer with us now.  We concluded our private ceremony as before, with proud salutes.

Of course we remembered all those wonderful men and women we owe so much to. One woman in particular came into my mind, the following haibun resulting…


The thump of the big gun rolls away, the two-minute silence begun. Just a gull or two calling distantly.  And there she is, waiting in memory: a woman never quite met, face never quite glimpsed, only her withered, liver-spotted hand, like a claw.  I never knew her name but thought of her as Ruby.  I knew only this: that she was one of those brave British agents dropped into occupied France to work with the Marquis in the run-up to D-Day.  Her room in the nursing home was always dark, door ajar, music most sombre on low.  Occasionally I’d hear her cough.  The big gun sounds again: it’s over.

between bugle calls

they live again

our lads, our girls

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2017


From → General, Poetry

  1. Dear Paul,

    A beautiful tribute to your and Maureen’s dad and including all those who fought for our glorious freedom, including your Ruby, It is almost like reading music, hearing the beat of the drums and sound of the bugle. It reminded me of my brother and cousins that bravely served our country with pride and how that sound of Taps make me feel. I am sure you both feel that same feeling, and to Ruby who though old in years remembers every second of her service to her England.
    Beautifully penned and warmly remembered.

    Warm Regards,


    • Thank you, dear Pat. Yes, with candle-lit photographs of our uniformed dads on the table and live coverage of the Remembrance Sunday event on the radio, it was with great love and pride that Maureen and I stood to attention through the two-minute silence, concluding with salutes as Royal Marine buglers sounded ‘The Rouse’. You would have felt similarly proud of your brother and cousins on Veterans’ Day.

      My understanding is that “Ruby” not only served in occupied France as an SOE agent but earlier worked with the famous codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

      Hope 2017 has got off to a good start for you Stateside. We’re fine, just very busy with our move to the bungalow.

      Take care,


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