I am remembering my Uncle Iolo with a bitter-sweet chuckle. The letter dates from 1940, as does the photo, I’d guess. It begins: “Now that our British Winter has set in, campaigning is less than ever a picnic. Well keep your bowels open and keep as dry as possible. A good motto for the dark days . . .”
Dada was in the Army at Alamein;
also at Rye and Monte Casino.
I have his cap at home gathering dust,
the dust he went to fourteen years ago.
There’s other stuff in the trunk in the loft,
mementoes of more settled times post War:
letters, certificates and photographs,
sundry notes made on work trips to Tehran.
Memories, he’d say, are lost to common
consciousness after two generations.
His legacy of strong, patient, wisdom
is getting older, harder to recall.
I think of Guernica, Dresden and the Blitz;
Nagasaki, Stalingrad and Auschwitz.
ilmo JA Cole 10 Jan 1920 – 29 Dec 2005