Armistice Day Poem

Thinking of the story my mother told me of the wounded soldier who came to teach at her school in New Deer in Scotland. These soldiers were encouraged to return to the community. How difficult it must have been to be faced by these innocent young faces and in light of the injuries they now carried.


Mother Recalls a Soldier Teacher – 1919


I am not sure what subjects he taught.

His class, all of whom were rigid with fright.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.


Not a child that first day, his eye contact sought.

Repatriated early, he now made a terrible sight.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.


He carried on; sympathy unsought;

He stood before them, disfigured, barely upright.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.


The door to the schoolroom never athwart;

to every Scottish child in that room, a birth-right.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.


But into the classroom, lessons, none ought,

so young, to have seen such terrible plight.

A troubled dimension to the schoolroom it brought.


He stood before them, a revealing report,

of modern war and its aftermath in vivid light.

I am not sure what subjects he taught.

A troubled dimension to the classroom it brought.


Benita H. Kape © 12.1.2014



Elegy (2) NaPoWriMo – 24.4.2018

Elegy (2)

After Twenty-four Years


You were so tired. I’ve never

seen rain like it when you went.

How often does it happen? The

undertaker had to take you

back. We would wait, and

tempers would flair before

the morning when finally we

laid you to rest beside Dad.

That waiting was such a shame.

I’ll bet it was the worst night

you’d ever,

or ever will have.


One thing I’m sure of:

the next morning it was you

who determined the weather.

In your slight, gentle Scots brogue

you put things in motion. You’d

had enough.


Last evening, I’d done my best,

singing as the hearse moved

not to the graveside, but back

up the street. I’d failed. So,

as I remember it; at the quiet

graveside that morning, only

the minister’s blessings. All

else was whispers. I heard

your fading voice in the wind.

From you, I’d learned forgiveness.

Others had too, and others had not.


Benita Kape © 24.4.2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 image

Today for NaPoWriMo we have for our suggested prompt Elegy.


In Such Circumstances – NaPoWriMo 2017, day nineteen – prompt: myth


In Such Circumstances


The myth of her childhood;

for she thought of herself

as an only child. With

her foster father she lived

in a small Scottish Croft.

There was the sad loss

of her foster mother

when she was only six.


Then later, he remarried; step-sisters

with whom my mother never

was close. In time she moved

(or was moved) on, leaving behind

those happy times with a man who

had been left bereft.  But did she

know who she truly was?


It took years to unravel. It took

genealogy to uncover the mysteries

and the myths. Who was this woman,

her birth mother? Did my Mother know

she had emigrated to Boston? That was

not the first mystery solved. Though,

the eldest, my mother was one of many

born to this woman: and she carried

the same name at the time of her birth.


Many, were the women, who

emigrated to the colonies; and

who left behind them the myths

and the mysteries surrounding

their families.


We found the photographs of the man

who married the sweet-faced woman

I might have called Grandma, had

we ever been told;  that man who

took them to Boston. I look at the photos

of a kind foster father, and then at the

other man. And, to use a catch phrase,

I think my mother got the best end

of the deal. Though it is no myth, life

was difficult back then. I would be

given to myths in such circumstances.


Benita H. Kape © 19.4.2017

The prompt was to have been a creation myth. Would still like to do one. My interpretation of myth is a little stretched in the above poem.



My mother’s mother. Her passport photo




NaPoWriMo 2015 – Day 28 – Write a poem about bridges – Singing to My Dead Mother

Singing to my dead Mother


What are the bridges

of your remembrance

a word, a song,

a name.


The bridge you crossed,

a great ocean; going

you said,

to the end of the world

when I say his name.


Glad you were, that you came;

and now the bridge of research

has uncovered

a mother at last to proclaim.


Too late for the asking,

what are the bridges

of your remembrance;

a word, a song,

a name.

Benita H. Kape © 29.4.2015


NaPoWrMo 2015 – Day 16 – Today a terzanelle – Skinning the Beast


Skinning   the   Beast


Though my mother stood back at the sight

The lamb braced to the hook and raised,

Limp body, hind feet now lifted to a height.


Young child that I was, I was unfazed.

But mother just could not stand and watch

The lamb braced to the hook and raised.


As Dad yanked on the rope another notch

And wrapped the rope tight around the tree.

But mother just could not stand and watch.


So there was Dad, me and the lamb, us three,

While Dad adjusted the kill as it swung

And wrapped the rope tight around the tree.


Taunt the carcass, work moves up a rung.

Begin to skin the beast, warming a hand

While Dad adjusted the kill as it swung.


Mother simply does not understand,

That one such as me my farm skills excite.

Begin to skin the beast, warming a hand,

And Father guides me with pride and delight

Benita H. Kape © 17.4.2015