In the next couple of weeks Remembrance Sunday will once again be upon us. It is a very poignant time of year when we remember those who fell in all conflict. The wearing of the poppy dates back to a time just after the war when an American professor–Moina Michael first wore one and vowed to do so every year to remember those who perished in World War One. She also penned a poem–We Shall Keep the Faith–as a homage to Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae who had famously written “In Flanders Fields” in 1915, after the second Battle of Ypres. This poem was–and still is–one of the most quoted poems from the Great War—In Flanders fields the poppies blow..Between the crosses row on row….Sadly John McCrae died of pneumonia while still commanding Canadian Forces in France in January 1918. That war was supposed to be the war that would end all wars but history tells us a different story. Here we have a short poem by a regular contributor that alludes to the futility of all conflict whilst remembering the sacrifices made by many in 1914-1918.
There is stillness now among those who made it back to home
There is silence too—deathly—as they recall the madness—all alone
Recall that only weeks before they floundered in the squalor and swore,
To renounce the folly—the waste—the gore—and an expectation to atone.
At their eleventh hour they stand erect—in line—heads high—eyes moist
The corn poppy ablaze in scarlet proudly displayed upon their heaving breasts
A symbol that portrays their journey into the hellholes on foreign fields
Memories of unspeakable deeds that would put a paragon to the test.
Flat caps replace tin hats and crutches substitute for guns
Emaciated men–aged before their time—broken fathers—brothers—sons
Empty stares and emptied hearts reflect the collective pain
Bewildered by the notion that there was something there to gain.
Explain those foolish judgments from the donkeys at the rear
That led the lions to nothingness while they drank their cups of cheer
And clapped each other on the back or smoked their long cigars
Who care no more for a repulsive war and its everlasting scars.
In the years ahead our treasured dead should be recalled and be revered
In remembering them—the fallen men—we will shed our fill of tears
We will think of those who chose to fight to honour King and Crown
Who paid the price and sacrificed their all on distant ground.
A debt we owe—and our thanks bestow to those who fell for good
And hope and pray in future days that conflict be removed When the sun sinks down and the last post sounds our thoughts are one and true
Brave soldier lads who gave their last—WE WILL REMEMBER YOU.