Poem: The challenge of your passing #RemembranceDay

P1080372cw
Royal Marine Adam Brown, 40 Commando. RIP

The challenge of your passing

I don’t know you, I never did.
When we met, you’d gone.
Then, I recognised you
By the Union Jack,
A uniform cap,
The young lover, brightly dressed.
Family brave faced, and broken;
Symbols of why you mattered;
Reminders of what it cost.

The War Memorial in Yateley, photographed after Remembrance Day 2010 showing the fresh wooden plaque with marks Adam's place among those whom Yateley remember each year.
The War Memorial in Yateley, photographed after Remembrance Day 2010 showing the fresh wooden plaque with marks Adam’s place among those whom Yateley remember each year.

Strangers brought you before me,
Hundreds marked your passage.
The honour guard and satellite trucks,
Riflefire and raw emotion,
A counterpoint to
The ripple of respect,
As a town stood,
Marking your passing,
One of their own.

Broken voices, your praises spoke,
And hymns of praise from land and sea
Filled briefly the cavern of broken dreams.
Touched by scripture,
Tradition and some hope,
The gathered host found, I pray
That where reason failed,
God’s grace and mercy
Rested where the memories lay.

A bit part, my role
In laying you to rest.
Yet yours, in plotting my path,
Significant;
The slow, military march past
Of a different sacrifice,
A calling I count as gift,
A burden, its fulfilment,
Yet to be deployed.

Commended you were, to Christ.
Yet you never knew, how could you,
What it was you taught me,
The challenge that your passing marked.
Now, each year,
I stand and weep,
Privileged to have met and served
In some small,
Your needs, that day.

This is my attempt to put into words some sense of the significance to me of a Royal Marine called Adam‘s death in 2010.  Many knew and loved him when he was alive. Many who know me, might see more of the significance to me of this man’s funeral than I’ve been able to articulate here. But as I stand at another war memorial this year, taking another significant step on the journey that Adam helped to start, it will be for him and for his loved ones that the tears will fall.

Adam’s Hoofing Hut, a beach hut retreat at Mudeford bought in memory of Adam is now open and supporting Marines returning from theatre, as they recuperate and spend time with their families. Donations to continue the huts refurbishment, and to create a purpose built facility in the future can be made via Adam’s widow’s ‘Just Giving’ page.

Advertisements