16 Million – the poem

The following was written by Ray Fussell with Martin Elphick

16 Million – the Book of Commemoration


Sixteen million amoeba-sized dots

the printer’s slightest touch for each life lost

Each bed, each sigh

each proud swelling

each sinew-stretching arrival

and first welcome cry

Each tiny grasp, the first smile

Rolling over, crawling, every first step

the joy of the words

mum mum mum mum

Each tumble and scrape, cry for comfort

each first birthday, candles blown,

each first day at school,

the nativity play, dressed as a shepherd

Each first love rejected

each teenage family row

each hand held, each first kiss

the beating of excited hearts

Each promise, each dream,

each plan, each hope,

and every future

Each enlistment form

each pair of boots, each bayonet

all the farewell tears and the letters home

Each swollen foot,

each hunger

each terror

every last bullet.

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