Thoughts for Remembrance Sunday


File:Sargent, John Singer (RA) - Gassed - Google Art Project.jpg
They shall grow not 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.

They died for the aggrandisement of an Empire that our worthless ruling class eventually lost in hock to the Americans, and for the profits of armaments makers that have long since gone bust or been sold to foreigners.

Here’s a better choice of poems for commemoration:

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar’s work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And, with a natural sigh,
“‘Tis some poor fellow’s skull,” said he,
“Who fell in the great victory.

“I find them in the garden,
For there’s many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men,” said he,
“Were slain in that great victory.”

“Now tell us what ’twas all about,”
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
“Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for.”

“It was the English,” Kaspar cried,
“Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But everybody said,” quoth he,
“That ’twas a famous victory.

“My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

“With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

“They say it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

“Great praise the Duke of Marlbro’ won,
And our good Prince Eugene.”
“Why, ’twas a very wicked thing!”
Said little Wilhelmine.
“Nay… nay… my little girl,” quoth he,
“It was a famous victory.

“And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory.”

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6 responses to “Thoughts for Remembrance Sunday

  1. It scans as it sings, it sadly rings true and is very good…

  2. When you come to power, Sean, you will need a War Secretary who loves and understands you as a friend, and what you fight for. You will want this sort of stuff stopped.

    I’m beginning to think you ought to give me “Foreign Affairs” also, and I’ll trade back “shutting all the scumbag-Universities and gleefully-firing all their staff and students” to someone else.

    Like Mr Blake said Aelric needed Priscus to do what he did, in the last need.

  3. Poignant and so sadly true.

  4. The more I look at this war, the more out of proportion all the destruction seems in relation to the issues at stake.

    Sobering to think that it might have been no worse than a re-run of 1870 without British involvement, and probably no one would ever have heard of Hitler or Stalin.

  5. Liam Pickering

    If only Hitler hadn’t been born… if only the Brits had not got involved in WWI… if only Eve hadn’t eaten that apple…!

  6. Nothing more futile than “what ifs…”, at least as far as the past is concerned–Time only goes one way.