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Colour VE Day

by on 8 May 2020

Colour VE DayKeyhole (Oliver Plumb)text

by Keith Wait

A commemoration of VE Day 75:    8th May 2020


The sky, precious platinum mirror,
Silvers itself,
Reflects today’s sun, not fire of waging war,
Runs red as brother’s blood in ‘45
VE day

Early May
Not yet light, white rubble dust covers Rheims
A grim General puts pen to paper
Black on white
The sky’s leaden canopy shatters.

From a gold and white palace, two figures,
A future queen runs amongst the soldiers
They too are in khaki and olive drab
And walk down Whitehall with cheering crowds.
Men in grey trilbies, women in dowdy brown.
Now silk headscarves and contraband nylons
Once hidden in mahogany cupboards
Grace their cheering heads, red lips, dancing legs.
The shining black of Watney’s stout foams free
In Victoria’s pubs, while in Mayfair
Vintage Veuve Clicquot labelled in orange
Secreted in cellars, dark since ‘39
Spurts sparkling silver to the evening sky.
As searchlights become spotlights for the King
A steadfast symbol to the crowds below.

Despots love their colours.
The Corsican corporal’s pompous pride, bright blue,
The Munich beer hall bully, scarlet, black,
The Brussels bureaucrat a stealthy grey
Suffocating Europe with their colours
As their empires grow.

2020 vision sees no colour
To its silent despot, unseen and new.
Electron microscope, not eyes, can scan
Its colourless invisibility.
VE arc-lights, fire watch, needed colour
To see the coming enemy approach
However pale. No Enigma machine
Decodes our invisible enigma,
Suffocating lungs of prince and pauper,
Pulmonary pestilence.

But today’s the day to wave the rainbow,
Fly the flag, red, white and blue.
Remember loved ones lost
For freedom.

Wars continue, then as now, but today
Colour it bright,
Thank God,
And shout
“VE Day”,
The platinum mirror to all our past
When Europe was freed, and … in peace … was coloured.




Keith Wait
May 2020

Photography by Francis Coles

From → Poems

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