A poem for Remembrance Sunday

This is an older poem, but the sentiment, for me, remains the same. I hope it is worthy…

2015-flowers-family-friends-018Remembrance Sunday.

What would you have had us remember?

As you mustered in the trenches,

Around the gun emplacements.

As you hopped into the cockpit

And flung yourself skywards,

Or plumbed the depths

Submerged and submarined?

Should we remember your bravery?

Your mockery? Your cynicism in the face of duty?

Your gut wrenching anxiety,

Your fear, your mortal pain,

As you were killed and wounded,

Again and again and again?

 

Do the flags, the parades,

The preachers, the cavalcades,

Act as sufficient homage?

Or would peace, justice, equality

Be more deserving of your patronage?

 

But whichever,

It is true.

We must continue,

To remember you.


One hundred years ago – a lesson

August 4th 2014
My love lies sleeping in France
Whilst I walk the ancient parish boundaries here
Allegiances, ancient, modern too
Avowed.
Revelling in the
Summertime sun dance,
Though
The sunset tonight
Settles westwards
Muted by low cloud.

As the lights in our small seawards town
Were subdued
Laid down,
The ghosts of a century
Long passed
Screeled and swirled,
Banshees twisted
Twirled
Sighed amidst the chatter of the Information Age,
Which rolled and frolicked,
As noisy as any machine gun clatter.

The Last Post
Omnipresent,
Poignantly abundant.
Peace talks now,
As then,
Redundant.

37 days in 1914
26 in Gaza
Just gone by
How many more on the roll call
Of desperate days?
The disgust,disdain
Shellburst, rocketed, tanked
Agony and pain.
Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine…
And what hope
Can possibly remain?

I could go on,
But am not that strong.

So little learned
Or so it would seem
In the 100 years between.

Obelisks and gravestones
Commonwealth war graves
For uncommon people.
Hymns are sung
Poems proclaimed
Sermons delivered
Other homilies.
For others
Unmarked furrows
Scarred the blistered earth and
Poppies flamed the surly skies.

Lest we forget?
Indeed so.
And yet,
We do not appear to be equipped to remember that
War is
Even now
(Sterilised and remote as we might try to make it)
Savage, relentless, unforgiving and
Ultimately
Pointless.

As so it was
One hundred years
And oh so many millions of tears
Ago.