Sunday 9 November 2008

Rememberance Sunday

It is rememberance sunday here in the UK and on the way to a family gathering in the south of the province and there was a programe on the radio which took my attention. It is 80 years since the end of the The Great War and the show focused on a group that became known as the "war poets".

I have never been able to put my finger on why the works of these poets attracted me even when at school when poetry was considered to be a necesary evil within English classes. There is one poem in particual that has stuck wth me. Written by Wilfred Owen whose poems where written in the trenches and who died only a week before Armistice -

Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstruous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

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