Thursday, 10 February 2011

Remembrance Poetry

To add a poem

It's all very easy  - even if the following sounds complicated. Try it and see! You will need to click on "Comments" then paste or type your poem in the "Post a comment" box. Select a "profile" from the drop-down list. If you have an account with one of the items on the list please use it, otherwise select "Anonymous" and post your poem. It should appear instantly on this website/blogsite.

There are many poems on this topic on The War Poetry website.  http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/

35 comments:

  1. Eleven(By Garry f Smith, Inverness)

    The crash of guns, he flash of light
    The soldier stands his head in fright

    The officer shouts, the whistle blows
    With bayonets fixed the soldier rose

    The cry of steady, the sergeant waves
    The men stride forward through open graves

    The machine gun zips, the rifles crack
    The soldier charges no turning back

    The bullet comes, he feels the thud
    He falls to earth, through grime and mud

    As he lies, no fear or fright
    Gone his day, come his night

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gallipoli (by Garry f Smith, Inverness)

    The men shouting and Yelling
    The air stinking and smelling

    The smoke rising and clouding
    The ground shaking and pounding

    The heat burning and draining
    The shots scaring and maiming

    The wounds hurting and aching
    The guns straffing and raking

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  3. he swung slowly into action this tall laconic man
    he seemed to rise up to the setting sun
    as if to  gasp one more mouthful of daylight
    before his day ended and another begun 

    his tour was nearing it's end but he knew
    this was the time when many die ironically 
    so he kept  his self together in a deliberate way
    because he did so want to live...

    many came because they were sent, he came
    because he asked to come... He needed meaning
    there are no rites of passage in the normal way
    his father was so proud of his courage, but he 
    knew it was not courage that brought him to this land
    it was his own sense of failure within  his life

    he moved purposefully, he always did, not for him youthful
    exuberance that could kill you suddenly, wastefully
    the families who would mercifully never know the truth
    who would believe what they were told...
    "he died a hero"
    that was enough for most...
    they were sad...
    they cried...
    but he was a hero they could say, he acquitted  himself well,
    he died doing what he loved...

    the lies like the great lies of the great war... called so
    as so many millions died, needlessly, wantonly, deliberately
    like the pouring forth of humanity to use as many young men
    as we could... They were the lost generation, the best of us 

    so he decided...after some reflection that he would not die
    he would not use up all that he had, and all that he hoped for
    Love....  family... meaning and value... He would live... without
    Valor, for valor means less and less the longer you live...
    he would walk on carpets of moss, and lie under the laburnum tree
    he would remember this war, his war, and he would live.

    Marguerite Rami 2011
    no comment

    ReplyDelete
  4.  The naming of words...

    Forgiveness
    Forgotten
    Fatherless

    Believe 
    Reparation 
    Carry me home

    Lift me up
    Revenge 
    Mercy
    Consummate 
    God
    Home 

    Courage
    Epitaph 
    Cry
    War
    Comrades 
    Family

    Forever 
    Imagine
    Forget
    Sadness
    Beauty
    Sunlight
    Darkness

    Grace
    Cry
    Tears
    Laughter 
    Mortal
    Hero
    Light 
    Child

    Marguerite Rami 2011

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  5. SILENT VALLEY

    In the shadow of the peaks on South Arabia’s dusty plain
    A roofed gate stands, reminder of a half-forgot campaign,
    When once again our servicemen were called upon to fight,
    Defending and protecting, (we were told) Great Britain’s might.

    But not forgotten, ever, by those who served out there,
    Remembering the sweat and stench, the never-ending glare
    Of unremitting scorching sun and blessed, welcome relief
    As night descended, giving respite from remorseless heat.

    Those gates are silent sentinels, through which there is revealed
    The graves of those who rest here, in this arid, foreign field.
    They lie, not in the green fields of their rightful native land,
    Where flowers bloom and gently wave, by gentle breezes fanned.

    Instead, the hard, unyielding ground, volcanic, harsh and dry,
    Encloses those who, in the end, came here to fight and die.
    Surrounded by gaunt, lofty spires, all stark against the light
    Brooding guardians of our countrymen by day and night

    They are condemned by history to occupy this earth,
    Never able to return to the dear country of their birth,
    No loved ones to attend them, no tears will ever fall
    On the plain, white simple headstones that lie within this wall.

    But this is how it was, in all but very recent years,
    And there is consolation knowing willing volunteers
    Care for and tend these places sacred to the memory
    Of those who gave their lives in the pursuit of liberty.

    And not just here in Silent Valley, many other lands
    Are hosts to British servicemen and women, where there stand
    Headstones engraved with names of those whose fate was finally sealed
    To stay forever in the corner of some foreign field.

    Tony Church

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  6. WWI 1914-1918
    Rows and rows of bleached white crosses
    Stand in line as if to say,” Here is orderly death”
    But we could not have died that way
    We were spread across this field
    Hanging for days on barbed defences
    Rotting in mud filled trenches

    Whistles blowing, over we go
    Into shell holes filled with vestiges
    Of bodies thawing from winter snow
    This is hell, with no kindness present
    Although the padre blessed us all
    But wasn’t their God here as well

    Who came back who wasn’t dead?
    Who’d been to hell and was still there
    Who remembered every life?
    And saw them still in his mind
    And kept his silence year on year
    For fear his life was not enough
    © Marguerite Rami
    11/10/08

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  7. Build your dreams

    Build until there’s no room left, build towards the skies
    Build to reach your promised land, build your temples high
    Leave no step so they can walk upon your holy land
    Feel safe within your walls where you believe you are unseen
    You speak to own a biblical land where Christ and David walked
    The city named for its teaching of peace, but war is practiced here
    Keep your fears for they protect you, built on the tears of many...

    16/6/2010
    © Marguerite Rami
    Written in response to the wall built to keep the peoples of Gaza out, I am appalled at the displacement of Palestine families from their homes, which are then given to Israeli families on spurious historical evidence

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  8. The Unknown Soldier
    Slowly, reverently they raised me up, held high like The Epic of Gilgamesh
    Given the burial of Kings although mere mortal, I am transfixed
    Into the consciousness of a nation, forever, a symbol of suffering
    Of waste, of carnage, of courage so long ago, I am not forgotten
    I am every man who died, ours, theirs, yours, I am you as they call your name
    In shires once dreamed of long ago, in cottages and hamlets I am remembered
    My face stares into eternity, behind gilt frames, I am not unknown

    ©Marguerite Rami September 2011

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  9. Honour and Remembrance
    By: Jan Howlett

    In the distance, a weary-hearted soldier, home on leave,
    Stands mourning by a grave, this cold and dark Remembrance Eve.
    He cannot help staring at the simple, white, wooden cross,
    Realizing, across this yard now marks rows and rows of loss:
    Symbols of sacrifice, sorrow, the giving up of life
    To preserve their country’s peace from this tired war and strife.

    Though night shadows lengthen, grief only deepens and remains;
    His cries form voiceless words as he breathes, “Who can heal these pains?”
    Suddenly! As if in answer, thunderous lightning hits,
    And, in half, an ancient oak tree completely cracks and splits!
    But in that same instant, this sad young man falls to his knees
    Choked and grieving now for the world’s deep need for peace and ease.

    With tear-filled eyes he slowly raised his head, only to see—
    Divinely superimposed—there over that wounded tree,
    A lonely shadow cast by the grave markers in that yard;
    God reminded him of Christ’s hands—for him—were deeply scarred.
    There, fixed silently upon that grave, was Calvary’s Cross;
    That night he saw his own personal, spiritual loss!

    He’s no longer afraid of death’s grave or this war-filled strife,
    Because now his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
    Yes, he had true freedom from sin and spiritual death
    When he received blood-bought Salvation as his life, his breath!
    Yes, at this reflective time, we truly honour our dead,
    But first honour the Saviour, for Jesus Died—in your stead!

    "Peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:7,8)

    To read the story behind the writing of this poem see our website or the next post on this site.

    Excerpt from Jan's book, The Treasure of His Company Pg. 60
    Used with permission by Author Jan Howlett
    Nov. 11, 2011

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  10. A Note from the Author, Jan Howlett....

    Here is the story behind the writing of my poem "Honour and Remembrance" (Freedom and Redemption) quoted above. It was a very meaningful time as I wrote this passage and then the poem. I hope you enjoy and remember the sacrifice of many in a new light.

    "As long as men and women live on this earth, the images and ghosts of war can never be forgotten. The scars of terror and trauma that brave soldiers endured are often seen in photographs neatly arranged on mantles and coffee tables: things that were almost unimaginable to those of us who have never seen war but continue to enjoy blood-bought freedom!

    In our day with “real-time war,” raw twenty-four-hour “onair” battlefield reporting, we are brought up short. We realize, as never before, just how the price of freedom from seen and unseen enemies, and those bent on sin and evil, cuts to the heart. War affects every one of us past, present and future.

    As a younger generation, generally speaking, world war is something that we have never experienced. We are humbled and compelled to fall to our knees, silenced to all other thought but to pray for our dedicated men and women who are in the thick of battle today. As they serve, they sacrifice all comforts to maintain our privilege of peace and freedom and to protect the world from debauchery. Indeed, we honour our Forces, the living and the dead, whose blood was spilled to give us liberty.

    Yet, there is another Liberty that was won for us by One greater than all brave soldiers. That One, as some of those same soldiers would agree, is the Lord Jesus Christ. He, whose Holy Blood was poured out on our behalf, also willingly gave up His own will to restore us to Himself. Jesus did this so that we could be free from sin for all eternity. He demonstrated this sacrificial Love even when we would not acknowledge Him as Saviour.

    If Jesus had not stepped in to bridge the gap for sin—to provide us with the opportunity to receive spiritual redemption and reconciliation—we could never know lasting or eternal peace of any kind. The soldiers we honour today could not redeem us from the sin that separates us from God or those sins that cause evil and deadly wars. But they have, with God on their side, won earthly freedoms. Only God offers the Gift of Life, and if we accept that gift, He grafts us into Himself. And when we are grafted in, eternal peace and freedom are ours.

    There is yet another host and another great cloud of witnesses, composed of those faithful martyrs who have died on the battlefield for their faith in Christ, martyrs who grace the halls of Heaven and whom we, as the Church, also honour. These were the soldiers for the Kingdom of God, an army whose robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. The many who have gone before us we honour by being, in turn, faithful. We are not worthy of these great soldiers of the Cross.

    Yes, a great debt has been paid. When it comes to the model of sacrifice, you and I must first honour the Saviour, for He gave His all when He died in our place. When we honour Him first, we can honestly and respectfully stand and honour our brave men and women as we ought. We can do it with a deeper understanding of what they won on our behalf, for, in a sense, whether realized or not, they tried to follow His great example."

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  11. Remembering

    Prayers and Promises are come  again
    A national remembrance of collective pain
    Never again will be said once more, but softer still
    As we count the score, we do remember them
    Yet still there's  war...

    Remembering is not enough
    Remembrance is also trust
    Not just to mark their sacrifice
    But to be judged against the price they paid
    Which was all a nation could  ask

    By dying an eternal flame was lit
    A beacon to guide us through the dark
    A covenant of promise, a  national reckoning
    Won for us by our nations best, now demands
    The  peace for all, that's what was said...

    Marguerite Rami
    November 2011

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  12. “For such a stupid reason too…”

    The faded print, the lock of hair,
    The maiden aunt, the empty chair,
    A journey out to where
    The serried ranks of polished stone,
    Scream silently “NOT COMING HOME”.

    No slur on men so brave and bold,
    Who rest in peace and grow not old,
    To understand, if truth be told
    That Somme, and Mons and Marne and Loos,
    Were all “for such a stupid reason too…”

    C I Cox

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  13. Remembrance Sunday
    By Maria Cassee


    Remembrance.
    On a cold November Sunday morn, an old man sits a while
    Looking though old photographs, he can’t help but smile
    They’re all there, all the boys, with hair cut short and neat
    Uniforms of khaki, strong black boots upon their feet.
    They met as strangers but soon became like brothers to the end
    Smiling at the camera, there could be no truer friends.
    They all took the Queen’s shilling, went off to fight the hun,
    Soon learnt the pain of loss once the fighting had begun.
    So many never made it home, lost on foreign shores
    Many more were injured and would be the same no more.
    The old man’s eyes mist with tears as he remembers every face
    Each of his fallen brothers and the killing which took place
    He proudly dons his beret, his blazer and his tie
    For today he will remember the ones who fell and died.
    On his chest there is a poppy, a blaze of scarlet on the blue
    He steps out into the cold, he has a duty he must do
    Once at the cenotaph he stands amongst the ranks
    Of those who marched to war and those who manned the tanks,
    He bows his head in reverence, as the last post begins to play
    And he wonders what will happen at the ending of his days
    Will anyone remember? Will anybody care?
    About the lads so far from home whose life was ended there?
    I wish that I could tell him, that he should fear not
    For this soldier and his brothers will NEVER be forgot
    We owe a debt of gratitude that we can never pay
    And this country WILL remember them, on each Remembrance day.

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  14. BRITISH PATROL

    The reassuring stroke from a friendly hand
    as the dog wags his tail at the camouflaged band
    where the moths dance under a flickering light
    the patrol passes by in the menacing night

    The soft footfall of rubber soles caress
    (where fatigue and cold cause unwanted stress)
    leaving imprints in dusty sand
    so many strangers in a far off land

    Pressed in by shadows an' tan clay walls
    narrow alleyways hide deadly falls
    as the local populace lie in slumber
    each soldier anticipates lighting an' thunder

    Radio silence, whispered commands.
    instructions given by waves of the hand
    understood nods and zeroed in sights
    the creak of a hinge an' sudden lights

    A frail old man tired and scared
    with a young child looking out have dared
    to get ready for work in the market quarter
    and to glimpse for a moment where death may loiter

    Small arms fire heard a distance away
    some bloke with an AK having his say
    venting his spleen on a 'Poachers' squad
    believing it right in the name of his God.

    Dawn is breaking and light is ascending
    a sight for sore eyes but the flash is frightening
    cries of pain and orders given, a radio crackles
    incoming rounds rid of their shackles

    I.E.D.s placed in recc'ed trails
    jagged metal and tightly packed nails
    reminders of a homeland sore
    where armalite an' bomb caused a bloody war

    Hell is on fire as blood is stemmed, the medic is calm
    The voice to the soldier, a soothing balm
    a point of a needle, under covering fire
    unconcerned face and a bloody good liar

    Evacuated; up and gone, grateful for a U.S. Medivac crew
    fire fight over, an experience unveiled, hands up, who's on for a brew ?
    calmness an' training, have soughted this role
    when you walk out one night with a British patrol.

    Jem Allaway

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  15. Northern Roses

    Six Northern roses, five white and one red,
    Came home on an aircraft, in pine for a bed.
    Their country they served, their life-blood they bled,
    Just like the heroes in whose footsteps they tread.

    Against them arrayed the enemy ranks,
    Six Northern men, five Yorks and one Lancs,
    All trained to fight from their Warrior tanks,
    Heroes, all six; to them we give thanks.

    Six Northern comrades, no longer grow older,
    Like millions before them they stand shoulder to shoulder,
    With ones gone before; sailors, airmen, soldiers,
    Our country’s best youths, they couldn’t have been bolder.

    Six Northern Heroes make four-hundred and four,
    Whose families and friends forever will mourn.
    No comfort except knowing their names live in lore,
    We’ll always remember, now and forevermore.

    By Russell Makinson, England

    Written in memory of the 6 soldiers killed in Afghanistan this week.

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  16. Letter to Mr. Obama on his visit to Buchenwald
    Dear Mr. Obama, with respect, I hear you ask,
    How did we get to Buchenwald?
    Please grant me the honour, Mr. Obama,
    To answer your question.
    We got to Buchenwald by forgetting
    The Anglo-Boer War: The camps of starvation
    Of Boer children – indeed of their future nation.
    We got to Buchenwald by ignoring
    Those in the British camps: their fear and pain
    As their cold bodies paid for British gain.
    We got to Buchenwald by the British monarchy
    Promoting Kitchener for selling a trend
    That future psychopath leaders would follow:
    Sending soldiers to attack the disabled, the weak
    The elderly, desperate mothers,
    and babies trusting and meek.
    Destroying their livestock, their homes –
    everything they had
    Not blinking when the mothers were consumed
    With fright and sad;
    Transporting the defenceless in soiled wagons
    of trains built for cattle
    What the heck: fight the children, and win the battle!
    Locking up the Boer kids to die of hunger and thirst
    As their bodies gave up and the cells would burst.
    Raping and terrorising Boer kids in every way
    And then, stepping back, to simply say:
    We, The British, will not pay proper restitution
    We wipe our hands of the pain and confusion;
    We won’t say sorry as we have no regret
    The Boers and their offspring should deny the pain,
    And forget –
    This is how we got to Buchenwald, Mr Obama.
    – Elma Ross

    This poem was written in answer to the visit of Mr Obama to Buchenwald (a former Nazi camp). Mr Obama kept asking rhetorically: "How did we get here?"

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  17. The Piper's Longing


    Someone is playing it now,
    The notes soaring and dying,
    As they carry you respectfully out into the sunshine
    To that place where you will lie.

    Your girl, it was, insisted on that tune;
    The one you loved to play,
    The one we all danced to
    On your wedding day.

    Look, piper, look how they weep.
    Look one last time at your girl,
    Clutching the tiny bundle that is the son
    You will never know.

    Look at your lifelong friend,
    Your comrade in arms, swallowing hard
    As he squeezes your girl's shoulder
    For courage, for composure and, maybe one day later
    (for who knows what lies ahead)
    For something more.

    Feel, piper, feel how the breeze lifts,
    Tugging the notes which fight on,
    Skirling off into pathos.

    Mud, it is, they are flinging
    On top of your kist,
    A handful here, a handful there,
    Sending you safely on
    To that place we call memory,
    Where the song will still play
    As it did when you marched,
    As it did when you fell,
    The explosion in your chest reconciling
    You thoughtlessly to the dry, sandy ground.

    Yes, desert sand it was that smacked you in the face
    As the sounds of this world were extinguished,
    Not the soft, forgiving mud that caressed you from infancy
    And nurtured you when young,
    But you are still young, piper:

    Go forth now and put away what might have been,
    Swagger into Heaven,
    Woo the ladies who wait for you there,
    And let the pipes play on.



    ReplyDelete
  18. The Piper's Longing

    Written as a response to recent events and from the memory of my growing-up years spent never too far from the drone of the pipes.

    ReplyDelete
  19. To battle they go


    Through the stillness of the morning air
    Comes the call they must prepare.
    For when they hear the whistle blow
    They will advance to meet their foe.

    With one foot on the ladder wracked with fear
    Some of the men will shed a tear.
    Looking around at their friends
    Each of them wishing this carnage would end.

    Down the line the whistle it blows
    The fear inside each one of them grows.
    Who will survive? No one can tell
    But it’s up the ladder and forwards to hell.

    So when a bird sings high in a tree
    Recall the sacrifice so we might be free.
    When you stand there this November
    Take a few minutes and just remember.

    by Andrew Bairnsfather
    Written on 5/11/09

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    Replies
    1. A Day To Remember

      ��"Always remember,
      Never forget!
      It is, after all freedom,
      They sought to protect!

      Fighting in trenches,
      Deserts and plains,
      On dirty beaches,
      They left their remains,

      Honour the fallen,
      Respect the dead,
      For they gave us our freedom,
      Nothing more to be said."��

      DK Godfrey 10 Nov 12

      Delete
  20. HAVE YOU SEEN - By Sian Walker, Pembrokeshire

    Have you seen
    Wreaths
    Made of red
    Have you seen
    A soldier dead
    Have you seen
    The mud so deep
    A good friend dead
    No time to weep
    People dying
    All around
    Bodies left
    Upon the ground
    Who will put me
    In a grave
    Remember me
    Please be brave
    Have you looked
    Into a soldiers eye
    In his way
    This is goodbye
    Have you seen him
    Full of fear
    Knowing that death
    Is now near
    Have you seen
    The poppies grow
    Now buried deep
    Beneath the snow
    They lost their lives
    So we could live
    The war goes on
    And still they give
    So many have died
    And what for
    Nothing will change
    For ever more
    They all grow old
    In their graves
    Remember them
    They were so brave

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  21. East of Arras

    He’s “officially” dead, twenty two
    A formal letter told the saddest news,
    Of another son slaughtered on the Front
    Unending tears silently soaked your cheek.
    Then remembrance of the happiest baby
    And the angelic eyes of yesterday,
    What price a last kiss on his sacred brow?
    Whispering the bitterest goodbye.
    You never saw him marry his first love
    Or father a perfect grandchild,
    By which all lost innocence
    Could have been regained awhile.
    Because that wretched war
    Split his sacrosanct blood,
    And you couldn’t protect him
    Like a doting mother should.
    Buried five miles east of Arras
    Half a mile north of Monchy-le-Preux,
    Crucified bones aching to renew
    Will never peacefully be laid to rest.
    You waited hours, days, years
    For his ghost to come home,
    To revive a deadened heart
    Which rests in his lonely tomb.

    This poem attempts to imagine the devastation that the death of Charles Norman Gardiner on the Western Front in World War I would have had on his mother, Florence. Our family has kept several documents related to his time in the trenches including the official letter confirming his death and the diary which he kept throughout 1915.

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  22. Nineteen Fifteen

    A one-nil victory versus The Bedfords
    In the afternoon, January sixteenth,
    Still nil-nil in the stinking mud.

    March nineteenth, a boxing tournament,
    Where you cushioned blows
    Before “the Germans attacked.”

    July third, “three seven a.m.” lead,
    “Battalion goes over the top”
    Six hundred casualties, many dead.

    August first, Lammas Day,
    “A bath in the River Somme”
    To wash Death’s harvest away.

    September eleventh, Hope Street,
    A hopeless trench mortar
    Killed Private Beaton outright.

    Late October rains near Arras,
    “Water over knees”
    And “up to the waist.”

    December twenty-fifth,
    “Six bottles of vin,
    JOLLY CHRISTMAS, it’s raining.”

    For the Unknown Soldier of a family,
    This living memory of hell’s fury
    Is pencil within a fragile diary.

    A poem in remembrance of Charles Norman Gardiner (1896-1918) who fought and died on the Western Front in World War I. His diary (which my family still possesses) covers an entire year and direct extracts have been included in quotation marks in the poem to aid the description of a year in the life of a soldier in the trenches.

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  23. Closing a Door by J. Guzman

    No sense to it
    Grown tense through it

    A young man’s life ago
    Unsung blood in Korean snow
    Blue cold the sky
    Dew molds that high
    Too bold the cry
    Few old men die

    Take the young man
    Break him again
    A child they say
    Wild fears that stay
    Haunting, gaunting him

    What more need be said
    When the green seed is dead
    When all have been led
    Through the needle like thread

    Here must I stand
    Dear dust and damned
    A native song somewhere
    Pleases the air
    Teases my lair
    Her hair – black diamond
    I watch her go
    Calm, calm her stroll
    While guns eye the child below

    Two children in time
    A mountain between
    One loving to climb
    One wanting to scream

    “Oh for the warm days”
    Home and family ways
    Home
    Just home

    No sense to it
    Grown tense through it

    A sound and a call
    Unwelcome, wanton wind
    That’s all
    My mind like a stare
    My universe with a tear
    Now red molds the dew
    Here must I leave you


    (20 winters pass)


    Grey smoke far to the East
    Man’s shadow, the Beast,
    Roars in the distant land
    Take the children by your hand, America
    Vote millions for your defense
    Plant green seeds in a trench

    Wave colors at the sky
    Your mothers’ tearful goodbyes
    Add moisture to the swill
    Oaths freeze the will
    They learn Man’s private skill

    I smile; the Creator sighs

    The lies:

    Choose births to equalize
    The Beast fairly shared
    (And cut that goddamned hair)
    Her pages scorned
    The parchment is torn
    The Fathers’ graves are still
    The Fat Man rings the till
    While five closed walls
    Create futures for them all

    You’ve learned little, my friends

    Things you’ve done too many times before
    Like closing a door

    Idiots, you dance round the pole
    Fools, who glance down a hole
    No chance, lost soul

    I laugh aloud; the Creator frowns

    A young man’s life ago
    My universe in Korean snow
    Her song a mile away
    Wild fears here to stay

    This poem was written 40 years ago when I was a college senior facing the Viet Nam War draft much against my will. I was eventually drafted and completed it while stationed overseas. It was rediscovered (luckily)recently, and I felt it had relevance today. J. Guzman, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

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  24. Silent Witnesses

    Stark, mute, they stand there, row on row, each one a testament to show
    The folly of man’s foolish pride; the arrogantly thrown aside
    Ideas of tranquil co-existence, trampled by some blind insistence
    Of a lust for power and glory, peace forsaken for war’s fury.

    Yet also they proclaim the right to take up arms and lead the fight
    To those who have such mean regard for humankind and seek reward
    In violent act, barbaric deed inspired by avaricious greed,
    Which humane spirit must suppress in like response by armed duress.

    And so these simple markers stand, quite unassuming, almost bland
    In unpretentious plain design, regardless of rank, a benign
    And honest statement to us all that in death, man-made titles fall
    Into inconsequential form and matter not when life is shorn.

    But in their purpose they excel, in simple narrative they tell
    Of someone who, in honour bound commitment, died, and in this ground
    They lie, a noble company, distinguished in their equity
    Of gallant conduct, sacrifice, who served and paid the highest price.

    Through countless acres occupied by these white tiers, the naked eye
    Sees asymmetrical projection, ruler straight, in all directions,
    Stretching outward distantly, as if into infinity;
    Expressed in stone the human toll of bygone years, which mock the soul.

    So let these symbols of mans past barbarity remain and last
    Forever in our memory, to trust there will no longer be
    A need for such displays again, to banish all the grief and pain
    That these stones sadly represent, of human suffering, dark torment.

    And if their future presence should result in world peace, then some good
    Will have been wrought, and those who fell will have achieved in their farewell
    A better victory than they thought they would secure. They, dying, sought
    To end all war, so peace remained. For their sake, this should be attained.

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  25. The humble hero

    You seldom talked
    Of those monsoon days,
    A humble hero
    Of the “forgotten” war.
    A faded photo showed
    Friends long since dead,
    Somehow you survived
    And we’re glad you did.
    You quietly spoke
    On a sombre night,
    Of mending mesh
    In broad daylight,
    With the enemy on the hill
    Unwilling or unable to kill.
    But you did what you could
    To survive a rugged conflict,
    Evading silent shells
    Behind barrels in a hut.
    You never mentioned
    Tragic lives you ended,
    Medals were kept in honour
    Of missing soldiers befriended.
    Returning from the Peninsula
    You lived an honest life,
    Bringing joy to a family
    For time was your healer.

    A poem in remembrance of Thomas Calvert, who fought in the Korean War. It commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of the forgotten war.

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  26. Our Fallen Heroes

    When our future generations
    They ask us the question “why”
    About our fallen heroes
    And why did they have to die

    We’ll tell them to liberate a country
    To free it’s people from fear
    To make this world a better place
    Though a price they paid so dear

    No matter whom you are
    Or wherever you come from
    Each and every one of us should know
    They gave their lives for “our freedom”

    Our darkest day came upon us
    When the good lord to them to heaven
    Without a chance to say goodbye
    No warnings we were given

    A solemn promise we declare
    No one can ever contest
    They gave their life for this country
    Quite simply they were the best

    A final word of notion
    To our heroes we’ll never forget
    We hope one day we’ll meet again
    Rest in peace OUR FALLEN HEROES and god bless.


    Written by Larry Tickle Ex 14th/20th Kings Hussars 11th April 2003 Copyright ©

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  27. Written by Revd Arthur Quick, late of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (WW1), after bidding farewell to his son, Pte Melvin Quick, on the embarkation of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, 1940.


    The little boys from Common Street

    The little boys grew up so very fast:
    The little boys who played on Common Street
    With kiddie-kars and wagons, scooters, bikes,
    And noisy clatter of swift running feet.

    Just tousle-headed, ordinary boys:
    But how we loved them! Was it yesterday
    The neighbourhood was lively with their cries,
    And yet today, you say, they marched away?

    The martial music sounded through the town:
    Who were the men went bravely marching by
    In battle dress with rifle, kit, and pack,
    With steady tread, and handsome heads held high?

    These were the little boys from Common Street,
    My next-door neighbour's little boy and mine;
    They heard the call to service, and they saw
    From far away the gleaming vision shine.

    Youth wears a sort of halo as he goes
    Forth to adventure in an high emprise,
    A fiery zeal is burning in his heart,
    And glory lights are shining in his eyes!

    While Age stands by and sees the marching host
    But dimly through a veil of misty tears,
    He longs to backward turn the tide of time
    And live again the dear departed years.

    The little boys have gone from Common Street,
    The neighbourhood is quiet. Far, so far -
    The drums beat and the shrilling bugles call:
    For Age must stay, while Youth goes forth to war.

    God bless the little boys from Common Street,
    Give them high courage and stout hearts today!
    Crown their new manhood with brave victory:
    And send them back to us, who wait and pray.


    ReplyDelete
  28. Written by Rev.Melvin Quick, former Lieutenant, Canadian HLI, after visiting the D-Day beaches in 1994. In 1999, acting as padre to the regiment, he read this poem at the Museum for Freedom in at Knokke, Belgium, where in 2012 his son, Rev.Roger Quick, read it when acting as padre to the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).


    They Do Not Sleep

    In sacred memory of all the men of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada who died for the cause of freedom during and after the Second World War of 1939-1945.

    So green the lawns that stretch between
    The well-kept walks and cultured trees;
    So clean the emblems gleam that mark
    The solemn site of sacrifice.

    Silence, and reverence, and calm
    Surround the mourning spirit here.
    The scars of war are overgrown;
    The shattered cities built again;

    Replenished are the ranks of men
    With young who did not know the war.
    But look! The silent shadowed forms
    Parade with ever clearer face;

    And eyes and voice, and native traits
    Refresh the buried memories,
    And wake again the searing pain
    Of sorrow's anger at their loss.

    Those headstones mark the sudden halt
    Of hopeful years that have not been;
    Of life that had so much to learn.
    So much to give; so much to gain.

    And we remain; on whom the years
    Lay growing weight, 'til final call
    Shall bear away our ageing forms.

    Then shall we join that youthful throng
    Who knew not age, or changing scene;
    Then reap the harvest of our faith,
    Matured and ripened by God's grace.

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  29. Written by Rev.Roger Quick, Hon.Padre The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), after the regimental association’s visit to military cemeteries in the Netherlands and the Reichswald.


    We will

    Remember? Yes, we will remember them,
    We who have watched them go down with the sun.
    And in the morning, seeing them gone
    We will cease remembering and live.
    As they would have lived
    And longed to lay to rest at last
    The sheer bloody waste of it all.

    Yes, they would want to forget.
    Yet even that is denied them,
    Those who survived them
    Bear witness to that,
    Who cannot forget.

    Sure, they remember the good times:
    The scrapes they got into, the japes they got up to;
    Which nevertheless came down to
    The same thing in the end.
    They lost a friend.

    Whose memories hold
    A face as it was then: young, bold.
    Truly, they will not grow old.
    Not then, not now, not never.

    How can we ever then honour their lives
    Weary, but unsurprised that
    The brave new world was lies;
    Should we not just trouble their rest,
    Seeing the rubble we built was at best
    Unfit?

    But we will.
    We will.
    We who the years condemn.
    We will.
    Unable to comprehend
    We that are left will
    Stand silenced by silence.
    Unworthy to demand
    An answer.

    And still in that silence we will find something
    Devastatingly honourable,
    Worthy of repetition,
    Worth our recalling
    At the going down of the sun
    And in the morning.

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  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  31. Ballad of an English Soldiering Man

    1. The battle cry calls from far, far away
    Stirring our hearts to another futile foreign fray
    And those that answer what conscience should say -
    Proudly tell of honour and duty this Remembrance Day,
    But in what currency of blood shall we pay?
    Whilst politicians promise more help on the way -
    And we are sent off packing on the Road to Mandalay!...

    - This is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    2.For warring lies deep within the soul of the fighting man,
    Like a burning fire dancing upon the desert's sand;
    And yet we see it through as best we can -
    By winds of adventure our spirits are fanned,
    From Kandahar across Afghanistan to Hell – man...!
    Like troubadours on the Mystical road to Samarkand;
    Part of the programme, part of something we don't understand -

    -This is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    3.Across the years, across untold blood, toil, sweat, and tears -
    Bleeding bravery – God and country upon all our warriors' fears,
    From theatre to theatre – India – Abyssinia – Iraq and the Crimea's,
    Playing our parts on stages of violence – wars and hysterias...
    Travailing against the Mahdi... Al Qaeda – crabs and gonorrhoea’s...
    Fighting fanatics – fevers and feral Medias;
    And then when it's done, wash it all down with a few ice cold beers.

    – This is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    4. To sing and smile whilst all about you are damned -
    Ever so disciplined as you get carved up and canned -
    Praying as you march through an endless Sudan ,
    Praying for your feet to be lifted by the big brass band,
    Praying for courage to understand the great game plan -
    Praying for mercy in these dusty - cursed - unholy lands -
    Praying for a small, quiet corner that remains forever - England!

    – For this too is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    5.I've got a sweetheart Back in Blighty -
    I've got my true love back in my home county
    I've got an English rose named Emily -
    She's the girl waiting for me – my dearest, dearest Emily,
    She's my beloved – my betrothed whom I shall marry;
    She awaits me in the greenest, fairest of God's country,
    Alas – my *ss! I've signed up again in the bloody infantry!

    – For this too is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    6. Bullets to the left of me – bombs to the right -
    These jokers don't know my flag's red and white!
    Got all the aces and a few ragheads in my sight -
    I'm Tommy Tippins and it's time to say: "Goodnight!"
    Live or die – this is war – t'aint no respite!
    Keep calm – carry on – stand firm – it's alright!
    Glory days in a distant haze of another fantabulous firefight!

    – For this too is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    7. Stuck in the trenches, pinned down by the Hun
    That was Flanders – Ardennes and the Somme,
    We died like flies, singing : “Run rabbit, run!” -
    Joshed by Boche – Kaiser's mustard gas and Gatling gun,
    Whilst pompous pr*cks shouted: “up and over, my son!”
    The War to end all Wars when all’s was said and done,
    That's where I was stationed in World War One.

    – For this was the lot of the English soldiering man!

    ReplyDelete
  32. this is the second part of english soldiering man


    8. Then on the beaches of Dunkirk and Normandy,
    Whirring tracers struck us down mercilessly!
    Sand stinging our eyes, as we cursed Hitler and Germany
    Just like in the Great War, cannon fodder for the enemy!
    But we listened to Churchill, and forgot Gallipoli -
    And our thirst for blood and revenge slaked our insanity -
    This too was World War Two for all humanity.

    – For this was the lot of the English soldiering man!

    9. Firestorms in Dresden – the Six million dollar question!
    But this was total war, was Bomber Command's contention -
    So as Winston stared silently in horror at his own reflection,
    Then tapped his cigar to emphasise his intention -
    “If millions are to die; without a single solitary mention -
    To end this impasse and free D-Day from detention...
    Who am I to deny our brave boys their deserved pension?”

    -For this was the lot of the English soldiering man!

    10. And from Waterloo to Trafalgar, the Seine and Maginot line,
    We defended our lives and colours with the thin red line -
    From Isandlwana to Agincourt – Verdun and the German Rhine -
    From the Black Hole of Calcutta across the very sands of time -
    From up the Khyber and down King Solomon's Mine...
    We sent our missionaries, our traders – then our glorious red wine:
    Comrades in arms, brothers immortal – Lions Divine!

    -And this is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    11.-I held the hand of brother John -
    As he slipped in and out of Appolyon -
    Wiped his brow and spoke of Avalon ...
    And prayed his torment would not be long -
    I rolled him a cigarette and hummed “Our Jerusalem”...
    He thanked me so kindly for his job was done -
    Smiling he died, knowing the war was won...!

    -For ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die,
    -And this is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    12. -Into the jaws of death rode the 500 -
    Into Hades and beyond the Cenotaph said...
    Into Arthurian legend bled the “glorious dead” -
    But I..., I am a Republican Druid born and bred -
    I pledge allegiance to Cromwell and the Diggers instead -
    I am all the nightmares and terrors you've ever read...
    I am an Englishman – Viking... "So off with your head!"

    -And this too is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    13. We gave the Zulu short shrift at Rorke's Drift- despite the gravity -
    Lost Harold and Hastings to William's Conquering Cavalry,
    Washington used our red coats as targets for his Yankees -
    Julius Caesar rowed back to Rome appalled by our savagery -
    At the Siege of Mafeking we faced the Boer with Great Gallantry,
    Century by Century our ancestors kept making history -
    And so we fight the good fight from Victory to Victory!


    -And this too is the lot of the English soldiering man!

    14. Measure for Measure, whatever the Weather-
    We are the ones who make everything Better!
    Footloose and free, and ready Whenever,
    Kill or be Killed – and whatever – Whatever...!
    Kindred Spirits in the Greatest Adventure -
    Trained by John Bull and the Law of Winchester -
    Massacre and slaughter on Air, Land and Water -


    -And this is the lot of the English soldiering man!


    15.When Adam delved and Eve spun,
    Who then was the gentleman?
    When wars were raised and battles begun,
    Who shall tell one from one beneath the Midnight Sun?
    And the eternal question ever since 1381...
    Is when shall these Taliban troubles be done – done?
    When shall God's will on Earth, and our Kingdom surely come – come?

    For ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die -
    And hope that this shall be the lot for every English soldiering man!


    END



    This Ballad was written to challenge our perception of war and history, and to eulogise the role of the English or British soldier. To make sense of it all – ie. 2000 years of bloodshed - through this epic poem, I was inspired by Milton, Byron, Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Gaol, as well as “England – an Autobiography” I hope it gives solace as well as stirs the imagination and hearts in all those that read it and think on it.

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  33. this is for all war- written in the spirit of kipling.

    WHEN? By Paul R. Denton

    When all about you have Lost their Head,
    When alone amongst the Living and the Dead,
    When all that is Written has been Read;
    When there’s Nothing more that needs be Said,

    When the price of Freedom has been Paid,
    When every Decision has been Made,
    When Fate has composed the Final Symphony;
    When there’s nothing left but History...

    When Day Dawns upon Truth and Democracy,
    When every Nation has fulfilled its Destiny,
    When every Beginning has found its End,
    When Silence remains your only Friend...

    When Life is more than Tragic Futility;
    When All can Love our Common Humanity...
    (pause)...
    WHEN?....

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  34. Working in Nigeria I decided to come back to my office (on Remembrance Sunday) with the sole aim of holding the 2 minutes silence there. An Australian collegue of mine came in and started talking but when I reminded him he shut up and actually held the 2 minutes silence with me. It was a few minutes before 11.00 and i had time to explain. He had genuinely forgotten.

    What struck me is that outside my office I could hear "business as usual activity, laughter and people not taking a blind bit of notice. I thought to myself "OK, I am in Africa and these people don't understand" (as life is so cheap and unvalued here), but i also noticed that there were European (UK) expats also going about their business too. Later I mentioned this significance of the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, someone glibly asked is that the 11th second of the 11th minute too... THAT was the trigger point. And the resultant poem is what you see. Poignant? It cut me up. call me daft, call me nostalgic, call me over sensitive.. it does not really matter as long as the message gets passed around.

    I am a civilian. Always have been. My family have no military history (except for my grandmother's brother having been killed during the first world war). I do not know anyone who has been killed or injured in any conflict, yet I feel as strongly as anyone who has....


    Eleven, Eleven, Eleven


    Eleven, eleven, eleven, again
    Tormented souls up in heaven
    1918 - How time’s rolled on
    With a whole generation gone.

    The eleventh hour of the eleventh day
    Of the eleventh month each year people stay
    2 minutes stopped from activity
    Stand still and silent for all to see

    Respect to the long-dead, missing, fallen
    In needless wars of attrition
    Yet today worldwide wars rage on
    Still our troops and civvies fall upon

    Foreign soil and foreign lands
    Killed and maimed by foreign hands
    Their unselfish acts never cease
    In helping bring this world to peace

    Some youth look on with empty eyes
    Cannot understand people’s sighs
    Don’t want to know what they can’t see
    At things that happened in history

    The years roll on but things don’t change
    Respect for these heroes is not strange
    These people battle universal strife
    Willingly lay down their life

    We hear Kipling’s words “Lest we Forget”
    But do we understand our eternal debt?
    No greater love is more than this
    They give their lives for our own bliss

    Rest well you battle weary souls
    Whose souls and lives will ne’er grow old
    Rejoice each year again and again
    That your sacrifice was not in vain

    Thomas Mansfield 12.11.13

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