On Vimy Ridge

By Sylvia Taekema, Chatham ON

On Vimy Ridge, the oak trees stand,
Steadfast guards across a land
Once desolate, a battlefield,
Though pocked and scarred, now whole and healed,
Its tragedy and triumph sealed.

One hundred trees, one hundred years
Can recite horrors, fallings, fears,
Deep loss, great sacrifice, and tears.
Yet, in that soil of blood and sweat,
Turmoil time dares not forget,
The acorns drop, and hope takes hold,
Full of promise, stubborn, bold.

Harboured in the mighty oaks,
Hanging still like fog or smoke,
Are soldiers’ dreams, last words they spoke.
These weighted limbs, with memory filled,
Possess, within, the strength to build
Bright futures on a thousand hills,
Set on courage, kindness, goodness, peace.

For while age and girth of oaks increase,
Still heart’s duty does not cease.