Monday, October 26, 2009

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

Wednesday, 12. November 2008, 00:55:37
For the Fallen Laurence Binyon (Originally published in The Times on 21 September 1914.)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

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 mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Lest We Forget, We will Remember Them.

For all of you who may have attended a Rememberance Day service in a Commonwealth Nation, you probably recognise the third and forth stanzas. Certainly down here in Aus, you'll hear them at the end of every service, and accompanied by the added last line in black, in which we all join the refrain.

This year's Rememberance day is the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. It was the war to end all's a shame that we couldn't make that statement truth. Although this poem talks about fallen English men, it's an important part of current day services that we remember all who've fallen in wars. The great price that we have paid as humans, and to bring to the fore the need for us all to strive to live peacefully with one another, so that no more people fall to needless violence.

To remember all those who's lives have been affected by the losses of war we wear poppies. The same poppies that cover the Flanders fields of the western front...and as red as the blood of the many men who died there.

Before you pick up arms,
Consider the cost.
How many lives will be
forfeited and lost?

Neither one side or t'other
Will suffer no ill.
Why must we continue
To test battle skills?

Surely by now we can
End the suffering?
Embracing each other,
Let everyone sing.

Lift up our keen voices,
Call out for a truce.
Let peace fill our countries.
Live out this new truth.

No more battles and war,
Death and destruction.
Remembering costs naught,
Just recollection.

For all of the fallen,
We feel regret.
We will remember them,
Lest we forget.

~Kate 2008

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