1914 - 1918
The War To End Wars
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month guns fell silent; peace was declared the war the end wars was over.
And here we are over ninety years later, parts of the war are still at war. What a testament.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914
For the last six years I have shared poems about Remembrance Day.
I have tried to find poems that aren't specifically aimed at any war in particular. Today I am continuing that theme.
Home At Last - Tony Church (a former Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer)
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.
Sunset Vigil Sgt Andy McFarlane
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
Taking a Stand - John Bailey
I ask you to stand with me
For both the injured and the lost
I ask you to keep count with me
Of all the wars and what they cost
I ask you to be silent with me
Quietly grateful for our lot
As I expect you're as thankful as me
For the health and life we've got
I ask that you wish them well with me
All those still risking their all
And I ask that you remember with me
The names of those that fall
I expect that you are proud like me
Of this great nation of ours too
So enjoying all its freedoms like me
Support those upholding them for you
I hope that you are hopeful like me
That we'll soon bring an end to wars
So you'll have to stand no more with me
And mourning families no different from yours
'Til then be thankful you can stand with me
Thinking of those who now cannot
For standing here today with me
At least we show they're not forgot