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||10 Nov 2014 20:43
REMEMBERING THE FALLEN
*Please feel free to add your poem*.
Words – Charles Henrywood
May be sung to the music – Finlandia by Jean Sibelius
Grant peace, O Lord, across our strife-torn world,
Where war divides and greed and dogma drive.
Help us to learn the lessons from the past,
That all are human and all pay the price.
All life is dear and should be treated so;
Joined, not divided, is the way to go.
Protect, dear Lord, all who, on our behalf,
Now take the steps that place them in harm's way.
May they find courage for each task they face
By knowing they are in our thoughts always.
Then, duty done and missions at an end,
Return them safe to family and friends.
Grant rest, O Lord, to those no longer with us;
Who died protecting us and this their land.
Bring healing, Lord, to those who, through their service,
Bear conflict’s scars on body or in mind.
With those who mourn support and comfort share.
Give strength to those who for hurt loved-ones care.
And some there be who no memorial have;
Who perished are as though they’d never been.
For our tomorrows their today they gave,
And simply asked that in our hearts they'd live.
We heed their call and pledge ourselves again,
At dusk and dawn - we will remember them!
(The voice of the dead)
Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for your new day
As all my dreams were blown away
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of Hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead
I'm just a voice within your head
The Vision – The Angel of Mons
They came, each summoned by the clarion call
That hereafter might yet become their tolling bell of effigy.
Each had come to defend freedom, a hope, a cause...
A country, threatened by evil catastrophe.
Were we never so strong, never so vulnerable, never so unprepared?
And yet, gladly we fought. But at what cost, for what gain and at what price?
Every soldier’s wounded soul, made whole only by healing messages of love –
The muted hopes and dreams of dear ones left at home.
Obliteration, annihilation - war - call it what you will.
Fighting for glory - a barbed-wire crown?
And yet - many have trod this path,
Not knowing to what victory they aspired.
Our song of triumph deadened in the lingering mists of battlefield agony.
Never to be repeated?
Did a vision once inspire us?
Had God been on our side?
Were there shining angels there to sound our victory?
Or was it just a mirage, as the new day dawned at last?
The news is spread far and wide
Another comrade has sadly died
A sunset vigil upon the sand
As a soldier leaves this foreign land
We stand alone, and yet as one
In the fading light of a setting sun
We’ve all gathered to say goodbye
To our fallen comrade who’s set to fly
The eulogy’s read about their life
Sometimes with words from pals or wife
We all know when the CO’s done
What kind of soldier they’d become
The padre then calls us all to pray
The bugler has Last Post to play
The cannon roars and belches flame
We will recall, with pride, their name
A minute’s silence stood in place
As tears roll down the hardest face
deafening silence fills the air
With each of us in personal prayer
Reveille sounds and the parade is done
The hero remembered, forgotten by none
They leave to start the journey back
In a coffin draped in the Union Jack
Sgt Andy McFarlane, 2009.
I do not know your name
I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died
Your uniform, branch of service, it matters not to me
Whether Volunteer or Conscript, or how it came to be
That politicians' failures, or some power-mad ambition
Brought you too soon to your death, in the name of any nation.
You saw, you felt, you knew full well, as friend and foe were taken
By bloody death, that your life too, was forfeit and forsaken
Yet on you went and fought and died, in your close and private hell
For Mate or Pal or Regiment and memories never to tell.
It was for each other, through shot and shell, the madness you endured side by side, through wound and pain, and comradeship assured no family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend.
Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end we cannot know, we were not there, it's beyond our comprehension
To know the toll that battle brings, of resolute intention
To carry on, day by day, for all you loved and hoped for
To live in peace a happy life, away from bloody war.
For far too many, no long life ahead, free of struggle and pain and the gun and we must remember the price that was paid, by each and every one regardless of views, opinions aside, no matter how each of us sees it.
They were there and I cannot forget, even though I did not live it
I do not know your name, but I know you died
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died.
I stood there before the crosses
glowing white in row on row
Everyone a young life cut short
as the names upon them show.
The dates they died below the names
tell of wars now passed and gone
Passchendaele, the Somme, and Mons
of battles fought, and lost or won.
History remembers, as it should
these men who fought and died
Whilst for their families left behind
a dull sorrow tinged with pride.
The faces of boys held now in Sepia
who died in days long gone
yet living on in memories
and hearts, still holding on.
Yet despite the hurt and grief here
what with horror makes me fill
Is that when I look behind me
there are more new crosses growing still.
I went to see the soldiers.
I went to see the soldiers, row on row on row,
And wondered about each so still, their badges all on show.
What brought them here, what life before
Was like for each of them?
What made them angry, laugh, or cry,
These soldiers, boys and men.
Some so young, some older still, a bond more close than brothers
These men have earned and shared a love, that's not like any others
They trained as one, they fought as one
They shared their last together
That bond endures, that love is true
And will be, now and ever.
I could not know, how could I guess, what choices each had made,
Of how they came to soldiering, what part each one had played?
But here they are and here they'll stay,
Each one silent and in place,
Their headstones line up row on row
They guard this hallowed place.
||10 Nov 2014 20:57
Sadly I don't have a poem to add but thank you Shaun for posting this. <3
||10 Nov 2014 22:07
GR were very dismissive of complaints (including mine) on their FB page!
||11 Nov 2014 10:15
Thank you Shaun.
Very emotive and I have tears in my eyes.
||11 Nov 2014 11:19
OUR REMEMBRANCE DAY A MESSAGE FROM THE FALLEN
Come gather round lads, come one come all,
Its time to answer the bugle’s call,
Look, through the clouds and down below,
There’s hundreds of friends we used to know.
Our special day of the year is here,
When all our comrades gather near,
A promise made, for years to keep,
To honour us, in our endless sleep.
Together we all fought, side by side,
The lucky one’s all march with pride,
Some old and grey and racked with pain,
But still they march, time and again.
Our poppy wreath’s all shining bright,
Oh boys, look at this glorious sight,
In cloud and mist, in sun and wet,
We knew, that they would not forget.
We pick out regiments we all know,
And one by one we watch them go,
We salute all those who came to pray,
For us - on our - remembrance day.
WHY DO I WEAR A POPPY?
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.
Home at Last
He's home at last, a mother's son, a fine young man, his duty done,
Yet not for him the fond embrace, a loving kiss, a smiling face
Or cries of joy to laugh and cheer the safe return of one so dear,
It is his lot to show the world a soldiers fate as flags unfurl
And Standards lower in salutation, symbols of a grateful nation.
Sombre now, the drum beats low, as he is carried, gentle, so
As if not to disturb his rest, by comrades, three and three abreast
Who now, as quiet orders sound, they, one by one then move around
To place him in the carriage decked with flowers in calm and hushed respect,
Preparing for the sad, slow ride through silent crowds who wait outside.
So the warrior now returns to native soil and rightly earns
The great respect to one so young, though sadness stills the waiting throng,
While flowers strew the path he takes, as the carriage slowly makes
A final turning to allow the veterans standing there to show
The soldiers pride, a silent, mute, proud and respectful last salute.
Yet, while onlookers stand and see the simple, moving ceremony,
There is a home, a place somewhere, where sits a waiting, vacant chair,
And one great yawning empty space in someone's heart, no last embrace
To bid a final, fond farewell to one who will forever dwell
In love and cherished memory, a Husband, Son, eternally.
And we who see should not forget that in this soldier's final debt
And sacrifice for duty's sake, it is the loved ones who must take
The hurt, to bear as best they can, and face a future lesser than
The one they dreamed in bygone years, now to regard with bitter tears,
Reflecting, as time intervenes, on thoughts of how it might have been.
But in their grief there's quiet pride that loved ones bravely fought and died
Believing in a worthy goal which helps give solace, and consoles
By knowing that the loss they bear is shared by all our peoples where
In gratitude, their names will be forever honoured, guaranteed
To be remembered and enshrined, beyond the shifting sands of time.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
||11 Nov 2014 13:01
Not a poem but a verse
Upon the waters where they did go,
There are no crosses row on row.
Yet those who lie beneath the sea,
Can rest in peace
Your country’s free.
||11 Nov 2014 19:31
We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As taps began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.
||5 Nov 2017 19:01
Given this old thread a nudge, please add a poem or verse for the Fallen.
Centenary Of Passchendaele >> https://passchendaele100.org/
REMBERING THE FALLEN WITH POEMS
Trembling down in the trench, thinking of nothing but home,
Above I hear a roar, another mine has blown.
There is no turning back, the battle must go on,
Nonetheless it seems to me all meaningless and wrong.
As if one shot from me, will help the war at all,
My task is to 'go o'er the top', to fire and then to fall.
Of course I love my country, but I'm too young to die,
Echoing all around I hear the bitter battle cry.
I wish I hadn't come, I wish I wasn't here,
But it is far too late, and I'm overcome with fear.
I once felt so very proud that I was going to fight,
But how can any man have pride, after seeing this harrowing sight.
I long for freedom, and yet more for peace,
The day when this endless war will cease.
But for now I value every given breath,
For the time draws near when I shall meet my certain death.
A poem written when the author was fourteen-years-old. (Pippa was not a child soldier.)
A wonderful site for researching your Military history.
||5 Nov 2017 19:34
"There are bold soldiers and old soldiers
but few old, bold soldiers"
passed on by my GF, RSM, a regular with the Royal Artillery who fought from the first day at Mons to the last. He saw little honour and glory in war just blood, mud 'n muck, pain and dead horses.
I still have his medals with their ribbons and clasps.
My father, RN, fought in the cold, cruel seas of the north Atlantic from the Denmark Strait to the Barents Sea. Like many seafarers he preferred a few verses of Psalm 107 to anything written later. Many men were buried at sea to these verses.
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
||6 Nov 2017 09:26
This poem was written in November 2012 in support of an appeal for the restoration
of the WW1 War Memorial outside St Margarets Church, North Oxford, where the lives of 48 soldiers are commemorated.
Our War Dead
Why is it that we honour our war dead?
We knew them not at all as friends.
Why count the lives that have been shed
And save the letters that they sent
And why record the dying words they said?
And if we could one single death avert
Which mother’s son would we have saved,
And spared her from that cruel hurt?
She would have seen so many other lives
Cut short, their bodies trampled in the dirt.
If we had lived and fought in those cruel times
And knew these men, the trenches, mud and guns,
If we had stood with them among those soldier lines
While the hail of bullets fell on friend and foe
Would our deaths too be part of Fate’s designs?
Dead, they can remind us that we have not learned
The lessons that they paid for with their lives.
Still more will die, be wounded, and be badly burned
As still we send our young to fight in other wars
And dread the coffins in which dead soldiers are returned.
It was for our lives and country that they bled.
Is it because they died so many and so young?
Perhaps that may explain the tears we shed;
We see the consequence and still we go to war,
And maybe that is why we honour our war dead.
Ben Simpson, 13th November 2010
||6 Nov 2017 09:44
TO THE WARMONGERS
I’m back again from hell
With loathsome thoughts to sell;
Secrets of death to tell;
And horrors from the abyss.
Young faces bleared with blood,
Sucked down into the mud
You shall hear things like this
Till the tormented slain
Crawl round and once again,
With limbs that twist awry
Moan out their brutish pain,
As the fighters pass them by.
For you our battles shine
With triumph half divine;
And the glory of the dead
Kindles in each proud head,
That shall not be unsaid,
And the wounds in my heart are red,
For I have watched them die.
||6 Nov 2017 09:48
By Siegfried Sassoon
“Good-morning, good-morning!” the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of 'em dead,
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
“He's a cheery old card,” grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.
But he did for them both by his plan of attack.
||6 Nov 2017 10:44
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori
||6 Nov 2017 14:09
My Dad, like yours, Rollo, fought in the RN. He joined before WW2 and served in the Atlantic, Med Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. His ship was in the Med when war broke out and they were ordered to Scapa Flow with only their summer whites. I liked your piece, 'They that go down to the ships etc.'
I liked your piece about incompetency too, Guinevere, as it reminded me of my Grandad's views of WW1 in which he served as an Army medic in Europe. He was very much a peaceful quiet man whose three sons and daughter (my Mum) served in WW2 in the different services, one sadly losing his life in Germany. That side of my family had Quakers in it but several of them served on Merchant vessels.
Here's my offering. I've always thought the first verse said it all.
Here is no waste
No burning might-have-been,
No bitter after-taste,
None to censure, none to screen,
Nothing awry, nor anything misspent;
Only content, content beyond content,
Which hath not any room for betterment.
God who made you valiant, strong and swift,
And maimed you with a bullet long ago,
And cleft your riotous ardour with a rift,
And checked your youth's tumultuous overflow,
Gave back your youth to you,
And packed in moments rare and few
And happiness untold,
And bade you spring to Death as to a bride,
In manhood's ripeness, power and pride,
And on your sandals the strong wings of youth.
He let you leave a name
To shine on the entablature so of truth,
To sound forever in answering halls of fame.
For you soared onwards to that world which rags
Of clouds, like tattered flags,
Concealed; you reached the walls of chrysalite,
The mansions white;
And losing all, you gained the civic crown
Of that eternal town,
Wherein you passed a rightful citizen
Of the bright commonwealth ablaze beyond our ken.
Surely you found companions meet for you
In that high place;
You met there face to face
Those you had never known but whom you knew;
Knights of the Table Round
And all the very brave, the very true,
With chivalry crowned.
||6 Nov 2017 19:14
The first verse you quote JL truly says it all.
This is what they were fighting for.
||7 Nov 2017 09:15
BY WILFRED OWEN
It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,—
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
“Strange friend,” I said, “here is no cause to mourn.”
“None,” said that other, “save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress.
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery:
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels,
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now. . . .”
Rollo, Guinevere and JoLouise thank you for adding your poems, very touching and to the point.
||8 Nov 2017 09:23
BY JULIAN GRENFELL
The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze;
And life is Colour and Warmth and Light,
And a striving evermore for these;
And he is dead who will not fight,
And who dies fighting has increase.
The fighting man shall from the sun
Take warmth, and life from glowing earth;
Speed with the light-foot winds to run
And with the trees to newer birth;
And find, when fighting shall be done,
Great rest, and fulness after dearth.
All the bright company of Heaven
Hold him in their bright comradeship,
The Dog star, and the Sisters Seven,
Orion's belt and sworded hip:
The woodland trees that stand together,
They stand to him each one a friend;
They gently speak in the windy weather;
They guide to valley and ridges end.
The kestrel hovering by day,
And the little owls that call by night,
Bid him be swift and keen as they,
As keen of ear, as swift of sight.
The blackbird sings to him: "Brother, brother,
If this be the last song you shall sing,
Sing well, for you may not sing another;
In dreary doubtful waiting hours,
Before the brazen frenzy starts,
The horses show him nobler powers; —
O patient eyes, courageous hearts!
And when the burning moment breaks,
And all things else are out of mind,
And only joy of battle takes
Him by the throat and makes him blind,
Through joy and blindness he shall know,
Not caring much to know, that still
Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
That it be not the Destined Will.
The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air Death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings.
||9 Nov 2017 09:25
We will Remember them.
||10 Nov 2017 09:46
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
||11 Nov 2017 09:19
For the Fallen
BY LAURENCE BINYON
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.