The Red Beret

An unseen impostor, just another Londoner, staring at stiff black shoulders and white shaved necks under balding heads or over sized white circles of caps.

Already the silence had begun long before The Silence would be tolled, scattered mutterings among a street congregation hush.

Stood heavy among the monochrome uniforms, a camouflaged back and a red beret caught me.

The bugle cried in vain and the tree beside the poppy adorned grave shivered where there was no wind. As a pocket of London fell quiet to think of those fallen, some of them downed in the Final Push, not a fall, the birds could be heard leaving Regent’s park, heard above the city. Even the dead leaves remained still.

Now and then the head below the red beret would turn and reveal a boyish bright face. I wondered where he was off to in duty to kill, or defend, to be defended. Would he come back from where ever he was bound?

In those moments he looked younger than he’ll ever be.

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