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 five 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.
FLOWER OF THE ETERNAL SLEEP
By Josie Whitehead
Flower of the eternal sleep
Watching with the ones who weep.
You, whose lives, so short in bloom,
Saw such bloodshed, death and gloom.
You trembled to the sound of guns
Which tore to death beloved sons.
You fluttered, died. before your time -
Dropped blood red petals in their prime.
Crimson poppies 'neath the clouds -
Short lived, yet colourful and proud;
Now worn by humans with such pride
Remembering those who bravely died.
You represent young lives cut short -
Those who, for freedom, bravely fought.
Flower of the eternal sleep -
Silently your vigil keep.
TO THE FEW
By Ann-Marie Spittle
Heads bent solemnly in remembrance
As the prayers of thanks are read
Those here have walked the byways of the dead
And have brought tales for the young
That death may not visit them so easily
Seas of faces that should be so much more
Line the walkway of the monarch
Who has stood with them since youth
And still stands now
As they do
Hymns lace the air
And many fly with the notes
Scenes pass before their eyes for a moment
Then are gone
As they pull themselves forward to the now
As the last post echoes through the hills
Of lands that have been torn, or part of war
And the tears roll out of the buglers mouth
And join the tracks on the faces of the few
And then silence
And the remembrance that life follows death
And will for all time
But not all is black this day
For happy times are shared
Of battles fought
And friends met once again
Who many thought had gone long ago
Songs of their time are re-enacted
And Churchill lives again through the actors art
And many return to those speeches
And remember their resolve in those dark days
Fluttering butterfly wings of banners
Carried by those once arthritic
Have made the final push to stand and be counted
Marching to the songs of their lands
Men stand to see them pass
Though regiments that held their names
Have gone into histories archives
Then the march to end all marches
As the warriors of old give it their all
As if their youth had revisited them
And the streets are lined with the grateful
And those who came for their own reasons
And the waves follow them
Lapping gently at their heels
Until every space is filled outside the place of Royalty
And then the beast of war awakens
And flies over as it did in the days of need
Red petals cascade upon the watchers
And a nations heart opens
Filling the air
And says thank you
PRAYER FOR REMEMBRANCE DAY
By Marianne Griffin
For those who were killed in battle,
For those who gave up their lives to save others
For those who fought because they were forced to,
For those who died standing up for a just cause
For those who said war was wrong,
For those who tried to make the peace
For those who prayed when others had no time to pray
For those creatures who needlessly die
For those trees that needlessly are slaughtered
For all of mankind
Let us quietly pray:
May your God hold them in peace
May Love flow over the Earth and cleanse us all
This day and for always.
SHALL WE REMEMBER WHAT WAR IS?
By David Roberts
Shall we remember what war is?
What is war?
In the human psyche
it is the fatal flaw,
a perversion of the human mind,
using our greatest brains to create
outrageous threats to all mankind.
the profoundest disrespect
for the sanctity
of human life,
the ultimate in racism,
the collapse of morality.
the ultimate in criminality,
the ultimate obscenity,
the ultimate crime against humanity.
So shall we honour war?
and shall we now praise troubled men?
Or shall we remember what war is
and give true meaning
to "Never again" ?