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In honour of Armistice Day...AFTERMATH
Have you forgotten yet?
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same-and War’s a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.
Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz-
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench-
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’
Do you remember that hour of din before the attack-
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads-those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?
Have you forgotten yet?...Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.
SIEGFRIED SASSOON (1919)
I didn't know that one, Apple, thanks for posting it.
I find it very moving not to mention quite ironic considering the sentiments of the 2nd verse - "Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’" considering the fact the aftermath of the first world war namely the Treaty of Versailles significantly contributed to the rise of facism in Europe and the rise of Hitler and ultmately the second world war, its a bit unnerving reading that which was written in 1919 before the dust had even settled that he thought that this wasn't the war to end all wars. and not to mention quite sad that he was proved right considering what happened only 21 years later and is continuing to be proved right, right up to this present day.
It's not Armistice Day any more, but I have put aside Anna K after just a couple of pages to quickly read a book, doubtless aimed at children, in a series of History through Poetry dealing with World War 1 by Paul Dowswell. One of the poems is called Strumangriff (Charge) by August Stramm in around 1915. Not later, since that's as long as he lived.
You may all be familiar with it, but I wasn't and thought it was quite different at that time. Indeed the commentary just say his innovative concentrated technique was greatly admired by his fellow German poets.
From every corner yelling terror wanting
The heavens tatter.
Blindly slaughters wild about the horror.
Thanks for that Caro, I have only just spotted this, I wasn't aware of that poem either.
I saw this on a post of a friend of mine's facebook page, I don't know who wrote it or where it originally came from but considering today is Armistice Day ... it is suitable.
Why do I wear a poppy? I’ll tell you if I may,
Because I believe remembrance is... not only for one day.
I wear it for the fallen, and for those falling still
For those who come back broken in body or in will.
For the parents, spouses, siblings where bereavement takes its toll.
Whose pain will never leave them, It eats into their soul
For the wino on the corner, Of his old...life nothing’s left.
Now he wishes when in battle he had died a hero’s death.
For the lad who loved a kick-about in the park with all his mates,
But now his legs are held together with pins and metal plates
For the selfless men and women whose final journey home
Is in a Union flag-draped coffin on comrades’ shoulders borne.
For all those marching proudly In Remembrance Day parades
My poppy’s worn in gratitude for the sacrifice they made
It's by Jay Traisnel and is on http://femaleimagination.wordpres.../2011/11/11/why-do-i-wear-a-poppy
I attended a Remembrance Sunday service and on the back of the service sheet (although not part of the service) was this poem by Carol Ann Duffy:
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud..
but you get up, amazed watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photgraphs from home-
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce-No-Decorum-No-Pro patria mori.
You walk way.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too-
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert-
and light a cigarette
There's coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History, the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.
Thanks for that Castorboy! Its nice to know.
Sandraseahorse - that was a really moving poem.