Private Records

Names written in a book by furtive hand:
rank, serial number, cause of death, age.
Watch out as the guards search for contraband
in this disgusting, godforsaken cage.

Flimsy pages need to be kept hidden;
somehow they must survive the death railway.
Keeping private records is forbidden
but this book has to see the light of day.

We staged a mock funeral, make no bones,
to conceal “Private Records” from the Japs.
We exhumed the worn coffin filled with stones
after the war, using roughly-drawn maps.

The book is now displayed for all to see,
lest we forget those who fought to be free.

Richard Foster
November 2016

My father served with the Royal Corps of Signals during the Second World War. After he retired we visited the regimental museum at Blandford Forum, Dorset, where we came across Private Records, an exercise book that listed the names of those that died in a Japanese POW camp. It was a miracle this flimsy book survived; the poignant exhibit inspired this poem.

Advertisements

Author: rjefoster

I am a budding musician and poet hoping to bloom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s