Above White Cliffs (For Charles)


Above White Cliffs
(For Charles)

August sun burns hot upon the coast,
All eyes turn to beach and sea,
And fun is easy for these people,
For freedom is their right,
Their all,
And they have no doubt,
Of their importance in this land.
Above white cliffs,
Not high enough to see them,
But lofty, looking beyond green edges,
Across the bluer water to the horizon,
No hint of land to see,
Is a treasury of men,
An aeroplane in brick,
Housing warriors of iron will,
Fading into history,
But still marching.
Above white cliffs,
Charles dreams his dreams,
He is young again, but scared,
As the front drops to reveal the beach,
Painted with the detritus,
Of a battle still raging,
But like the others,
Dreaming in this lofty eerie,
He marched on.
Charles never stopped,
He never fled,
Yet fought the war his way,
No robot he,
But would stop for wine,
For a lady’s smile,
To help a friend,
So many fell beside him,
But he marched on to the end.
Above white cliffs,
Not far away,
The Peregrine stoops,
And soars over its domain,
It jinks and flies above the sleepy heroes,
And stoops again,
Then up,
High enough to see the far beaches,
Where those men marched,
To make us free.
Above white cliffs,
Charles fades into history,
With his comrades,
With little fuss,
Saying ‘thank you’,
For every little kindness shown,
A gentle man of iron,
Meeting his end,
With dignity,
No fuss as he goes away,
Such was the man, Charles Hanaway.
Blind veteran Charles Hanaway, who landed on D+6, salutes at the grave of his former comrade Major Agnew at the CWGC’s St Manvieu Military Cemetery. Photograph taken in 2014 during the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings.