Monday, 9 November 2009

Remembrance Day

I don't have anyone out there. Not now. The last time I did was during the Falklands War. I can still see those thin blue airmail letters coming through the door--closely written and hard to read, saying difficult stuff that might otherwise have been left unspoken. Tying off loose ends and putting things in order. Preparing me for the death that might come when that long sea voyage ended and the fighting started on Mount Tumbledown. I still have them. The soldier who wrote them survived and is one of my oldest friends.

So I remember that, and I feel a jolt of sickness and sadness every time another death is announced on the radio or tv. They are all so young. It's such a waste of lives hardly begun. Some are no older than my son. I do not understand war. I would like us all to live in peace and understanding. But I know enough of human nature to see that it is sometimes a necessary thing to stand and fight for what you believe in. It was necessary and right to stop Hitler. And whatever I think of the rights or wrongs of this particular war, I still believe it is right to remember and honour the fallen of both past and present, not just on Remembrance Sunday and the 11th November--but every day. We forget our dead too easily--and the wounded (in both mind and body) left behind are treated disgracefully by this Government. That is why I support Help for Heroes. For me, doing nothing is not an option. And I wear my poppy with pride and grief.

Remembrance 2009 @ 11

In that silence, I had a vision
of all the war torn dead turned to dust and ashes;
lying scattered over all the lands
that held their fragile bones.
Long dead, long ago some were, and some most recent.
Innocent and guilty, heroes and war criminals,
enemy essence mingled with friendly fire,
subsumed into earth and made whole again
without regard to race or creed or colour.
Watching, I saw the dust rise up
in a silver cloud that covered the sun’s face.
And as the people stood silent, remembering grief
and the priceless cost of war,
it drifted down, sparkle upon sparkle,
bright upon bright, prayer upon prayer,
peace bound upon us, dropping slow
into the statutory two minutes of poppy-clad hope.
Then the shuffle of pew-bound feet
and the angry chatter of belfry jackdaws
urged the cloud upwards into swirling chaos spikes,
sharp pinning its urgent message
to the four winds of God, for those to see who can.
The expectation of peace in our time fragmented and died
before the Vicar had shaken hands with the last of us.

'Remembrance 2009' copyright Lucy Coats 2009

1 comment:

Book Maven said...

I shall wear my poppy too but also a white one as a sign, like the Peace flag by my front door, that I believe we go to war too easily. It should be a matter of last resort.

And like you I grieve for those usually young men and occasional women whose deaths are announced daily.

I recommend listening to Britten's War Requiem.

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