Ian Cushing


Impromptu 1-Minute Silence


On Armistice day
I cycled past the cenotaph,
Stopped for a second and looked, then rode on
To meet you, in an Arsenal pub.

Keeping my head down, and my mouth shut,
As the signal for silence begins.
400 people watching silent TV,
Heads look around; wondering what to do,
Checking they’re doing the right thing.

Conversations drift off, volume down.
As a barman gets caught mid-service,
You mouth ‘thanks’ as you pick up your pint,
And sip to yourself, turn around and stay put.

You fake a cough, too embarrassed to admit
That you want to be quiet, and think.

Submitted: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Edited: Thursday, January 30, 2014

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