Poem 22 – Are We Not All Heroes?

This summer we made pilgrimage
Briefly escaping Covid’s shadow
Blinking as we entered the light
Of Cardiff’s sun kissed halo

There with the tentative throng
We explored its proud sites
From the castle idiosyncratic
To mist veiled surrounding heights

We marched around it’s harbour
Leaning into the red dragon’s breath
That blew across boat filled waters
Our path encompassing its breadth

But as we walked we paused awhile
By a shrine with trinkets bedecked
Left in honour of a hero lost
By earnest admirers memory kept

Who was this man, what was his merit
The deeds that demand such respect?
Why Ianto Jones they did reply
Welshman of Torchwood, most adept

Puzzled I left for I knew of him
For he had graced my screens
A hero not of real life, you see
Concocted in another’s dreams

How can the death of one not living
Made up, existing just in story
Capture the imagination of those who watch
Achieving real life glory?

What of us I wondered as we left
Who battle daily to survive
Without such glamour yet endeavours true
Will our memories remain alive?

This summer we managed to take a holiday just outside Cardiff, a city I’d never visited before. I loved it, especially its castle whose eccentric internal decor was a wonderful surprise after its traditional outer shell. As a sci-fi fan I insisted on visiting Ianto’s shrine, a tribute to the character in the Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood, who topically dies as a result of being exposed to a lethal virus. Seemed surreal that a character in a TV-drama should garner such respect when so many true heroes go unnoticed.


© Ben Quant 2021

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