A very moving poem with Remembrance Day in mind.
THE FINAL INSPECTION
The soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To my Church have you been true?
The soldier squared his shoulders
And said, "No Lord I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much;
But if you don't I'll understand".
There was silence around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the soldier waited quietly
For the judgement of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in hell.
Aww Sue, thats lovely and sad at the same time
This poem has always stuck in my mind.
Does it Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon
Does it matter?-losing your legs?
For people will always be kind.
And you need not show that you mind
when others come in after hunting,
To gobble their muffins and eggs.
Does it matter?-losing your sight?
There's such splended work for the blind
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.
Do they matter?-those dreams from the pit?
You can drink and forget and be glad,
And people won't say that you're mad,
For they'll know you fought for your country,
And no one will worry a bit.
This makes me cry ( so I'm posting it without reading lol).....
To a Bull-Dog by John Collings Squire
We shan't see Willy any more, Mamie,
He won't be coming any more:
He came back once and again and again,
But he won't get leave any more.
We looked from the window and there was his cab,
And we ran downstairs like a streak,
And he said, 'Hullo, you bad dog,' and you crouched to the floor,
Paralysed to hear him speak.
And then let fly at his face and his chest
Till I had to hold you down,
While he took off his cap and his gloves and his coat,
And his bag and his thonged Sam Browne.
We went upstairs to the studio,
The three of us, just as of old,
And you lay down and I sat and talked to him
As round the room he strolled.
Here in the room where, years ago
Before the old life stopped,
He worked all day with his slippers and his pipe,
He would pick up the threads he'd dropped,
Fondling all the drawings he had left behind,
Glad to find them all still the same,
And opening the cupboards to look at his belongings
. . . Every time he came.
But now I know what a dog doesn't know,
Though you'll thrust your head on my knee,
And try to draw me from the absent-mindedness
That you find so dull in me.
And all your life, you will never know
What I wouldn't tell you even if I could,
That the last time we waved him away
Willy went for good.
But sometimes as you lie on the hearthrug
Sleeping in the warmth of the stove,
Even through your muddled old canine brain
Shapes from the past may rove.
You'll scarcely remember, even in a dream,
How we brought home a silly little pup,
With a big square head and little crooked legs
That could scarcely bear him up,
But your tail will tap at the memory
Of a man whose friend you were,
Who was always kind though he called you a naughty dog
When he found you in his chair;
Who'd make you face a reproving finger
And solemnly lecture you
Till your head hung downwards and you looked very sheepish:
And you'll dream of your triumphs too,
Of summer evening chases in the garden
When you dodged us all about with a bone:
We were three boys, and you were the cleverest,
But now we're two alone.
When summer comes again,
And the long sunsets fade,
We shall have to go on playing the feeble game for two
That since the war we've played.
And though you run expectant as you always do
To the uniforms we meet,
You'll never find Willy among all the soldiers
In even the longest street,
Nor in any crowd; yet, strange and bitter thought,
Even now were the old words said,
If I tried the old trick and said, 'Where's Willy?'
You would quiver and lift your head,
And your brown eyes would look to ask if I was serious
And wait for the word to spring.
Sleep undisturbed: I shan't say that again,
You innocent old thing.
I must sit, not speaking, on the sofa,
While you lie asleep on the floor;
For he's suffered a thing that dogs couldn't dream of,
And he won't be coming here any more.
note (W.H.S., Capt. (Acting Major) R.F.A.; killed April 12, 1917)
I was born & raised in Ireland where the air is fresh & clean,
In the village of Dureen near the town of Skibereen.
I always had the best of food & never liked the pan.
I grew up healthily & could cycle with any man.
Oh weren’t they the happy days when I was young & free.
I could dance & sing & have a drink wherever I might be.
Kathleen O’Houlihan was the girl I used to date.
But, because of unemployment, I was forced to emigrate.
It was back in 1960 that I left my childhood home
Determined to achieve success & make it on my own.
I stared work with Wimpey far from home & family
And made new friends & some enemies too across the Irish sea.
Oh well I can remember the day of my first pay.
I joined a jolly bunch of chaps down at the Travellers’ Way.
We drank some pints of Guinness but I’ll always have regrets
Because before I left that tavern, I bought some cigarettes.
For more than 40 years now, I’ve smoked 20 fags a day
Which means I’ve sent up in smoke an awful lot of pay.
I haven’t had a breakfast now for 20 years or so;
Cup of tea, light a fag & off to work I go.
The people whom I’m staying with look after all my needs;
And when I come home each evening, they put up some mighty feeds.
They really shouldn’t bother for my taste buds have disappeared;
And bacon, beef or mutton chops - they all taste kinda weird.
I met a young lad recently - he came from Donegal;
He’s a qualified accountant & thinks he knows it all.
He asked me how many fags I smoke & when I started;
I didn’t take much notice for I was trying to kill my thirst.
He took out his calculator & began to add it up;
T’wasn’t that I asked him - cheeky little pup.
And when he had finished, he looked at me and spoke;
“You have £67k pounds all gone up in smoke”.
Now, £67k is an awful lot of dough;
And to spend it on a poisoned weed is hard to take I know.
I used to think that all my friends would surely be impressed;
But now I think of all that muck I’ve inhaled into my chest.
I can never stop coughing - I even cough all night;
My eyes are kinda watery & my face is deadly white.
My memory has started failing & it’s often I forget;
Oh, what the hell about it - I’ll have another cigarette.
Sometimes I sit & dream awhile when I’m all alone;
About the days when I was young & weighing 13 stones.
I was then in peak condition for cycling was my thing;
And I hoped one day to emulate Stephen Roche or Christy Ring.
Oh God be with those happy days & things that might have been;
Had I the chance to stay at home & work in Skibereen.
Still, it isn’t emigration that’s caused my main regrets;
It’s that day in 1960 when I bought those cigarettes.
I’m lying in intensive care with my body wrecked with pain;
Oh what I would give to see my Irish home again.
In my mind, I have a vision of the fields of new moan hay;
And I see the sun ascending way beyond old Bantry Bay.
The doctor’s been to see me & his face was rather grim;
And the Matron asked me yesterday to name my next of kin.
If only I could breathe again the air I can’t forget;
I swear to God I’d never smoke another cigarette.
My Sons favourite from a very young age.
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
And the Monkeys all say Boo!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the Trees go Ping!
And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang!
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So it's Ning Nang Nong!
Cows go bong!
Nong Nang Ning!
Trees go Ping!
Nong Ning Nang!
The mice go Clang!
What a noisy place to belong,
Is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!
Spike Milligan :-D
"I Have a Rendezvous with Death"
I HAVE a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Alan Seeger. 1888–1916
Alan Seeger was a young American poet who joined the French Foreign Legion. He wrote this poem shortly before he died. He was the uncle of singer/songwriter Pete Seeger.
Your last post reminded me of a book I read a couple of years ago........it's sort of, a rendezvous with death
....a beautiful book
Thank you for the link Gins - I've had a look at it and then checked out Kindle. It's on there so I think I'll get it when I've waded through the books I already have :-)
I have a son in law who is a bookseller - that can be a good and a bad thing :-S
"She stood on the bridge at midnight,
throwing pebbles at the moon,
oh! she said she was a good girl,
but she spoke too ????? ?soon......
Oh dad, I wish my child was born,
then all my troubles would be gorn........
Too many favourites to list but I love this one.
REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
And one of those things you only find out by chance, she also wrote this.
In the Bleak Midwinter
Christina Rossetti (1872)
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.