Monday 12 November 2018

A green and pleasant land

We walked into town to watch the Remembrance Day Parade yesterday morning, standing silent with the rest of the town at 11am, to pay our respects to those fallen in war.

It was a moving experience to watch regiments marching smartly across the old bridge, especially the veterans. Polly and Betty wore poppy neckerchiefs to show support and made us proud by sitting to attention at the kerbside as the soldiers marched past. They posed for photographs and gave a polite paw to anyone when asked ...  they raised many smiles and many compliments. I was proud of them, so to say thank you, we bought a large freshly cooked sausage from a nearby kiosk to reward them after the ceremony. It had been well earned!

As we paid our respects and gave thanks, I thought about how far we are now from the days when fear permeated our entire country and the world beyond. After all, we are only a century forward from those obscene trenches of war where sons, husbands and fathers, fought on foot for our freedom, so many never to return to their loved ones. 

Peace is so fragile and for our freedom, I think we owe more than we can ever fully know...

Dulce et Decorum Est

by Wilfred OwenLaunch Audio in a New Window

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

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