Remembrance

Image result for poppies creative commons

It has always been the British way: quiet, dignified, solemn. We have never really been brash and jingoistic about this day (which is why I find the hysterical screaming in parts of the press about wearing poppies to be somewhat distasteful).

-Some will be remembering loved ones, or the (fading) memory of them.

-Some will be remembering fallen comrades.

-Some will be remembering the unhealed wounds that an enemy inflicted.

-Some will be reflecting on the futility and loss of war.

It does not matter; what matters is that we are quiet and still and simply remember and give thanks.

——–

This Remembrance Day will be different for me. Since I arrived in this village in 2004, I have always had a role in the service or the Cenottaph through being a minister of the village and/or a Beaver Scout leader. This year I won’t have: I will simply be there.

As the autumn leaves witness to the dying of the summer that has faded and to lives that have gone, they also talk to us about change and letting go. Letting go is sometimes hard, but it speaks to us about the fact that we can never hold on to things permanently. I am the same person, but I am at the same time changing.

soli deo gloria…

Remembrance

This is my favourite poem ever and one that consistently moves me. I like the dignified restraint, the acknowledgement of sacrifice and the refusal to bow to jingoism (there is none of the ’emotional fascism’ that hits the media about this time about who wears a poppy and whether it is red or white).

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.
Wilfred Owen