The Response War Memorial

Marching Music



If the crowd would just look up, they’d see

the angel with the buffed gold clarion,

whose call to arms is so pristine

and incorruptible, better than ears,

like the Latin angels speak in.


But the soldiers, their wives and ma’s,

sweethearts and bairns, are still

obedient to these

soundless notes – fresh-blown aureate

semibreves that settle over the seraph’s head.


A bairn’s voice finds a thousandth

harmonic with the music. Mam hears it

and fills up, thinks of messages hid in

backpacks, their notation of teary splotches

and tails.


The snare drum anticipates a louder hail.

The air detunes below its lowest note

and the whole day hollows to nowt, becomes

as silent as the monument that reads,

non sibi sed, in angels’ Latin.



Jason Lytollis is a PhD researcher at Newcastle University. He has a background in teaching. His current research takes a psychoanalytic approach to featureless or unstable spaces in contemporary poetry. He has been poet in residence at Sage Gateshead and in 2016 collaborated on the Northern Landscapes project in Newcastle.