Grandpa’s Medals

When grandpa died, we found his campaign medals in a drawer;
He’d never even mentioned them or said what they were for.
The medals, since arriving, hadn’t seen the light of day;
Secure inside their package, they’d been hidden well away,

But letters, found in grandma’s things, soon helped us understand:
Strong echoes from the battlefields, in grandpa’s shaky hand.
He’d tried to hide the horror of the bullets, shells and mines,
But they could not stay hidden as we read between the lines.

His letters mentioned comrades who’s been there the day before,
Then spoke of them in past tense as a consequence of war.
No sense of pride or glory could be found on any page;
Just anger and resentment and an ever-mounting rage.

When grandpa left the army and his civvy life began
He tried forgetting just what man could do to fellow man.
He put aside all enmity and any thought of war;
All memories of conflict — with his medals — in a drawer…