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This is a scene I witnessed at a military cemetery near Ypres in Belgium while covering the 80th anniversary of the end of WW1 in 1998.

Mrs MacDonald Visits Her Father

Screen_shot_2017-12-05_at_08.50.24by Patrick Howse27 Sep 2013

She felt the ebbing tide
And went to the loch shore
To gather sea shells.

She last saw him
Marching off, tall
To her, and special,

But smaller with every step
He took away from her,
Unremarked in kilted uniform.

Soon he was nothing more
Than just another
Claggy lump of Belgium.

From eighty hard
Highland winters she came
To a green field

He knew only as mud,
To bend painful knees
To kneel before him,

And arranged her shells
To spell out one word -