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10:59. The seconds slowly trudge
Over the top of the eleventh hour
When shells and whiz bangs cease their lethal shower;
We hold our breath and watch the minute budge.
The church bells peal in joy, but time will judge
If this is lasting peace or brooding power.
On monuments crepe paper poppies flower;
What winds will fan the embers of this grudge?
In cold November, roses wither fast
In Picardy. Bare stalks in Flanders fields
Give way to frost where once the poppy yield
Was blood-splattered vermillion. Will peace last?
If only for this moment, we are blest.
The war is finished. Consummatum est.

—Mary-Patrice Woehling

Photo by Tijl Vercaemer via Creative Commons. Image cropped. 

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