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.
Some people don’t want to remember. Some would rather distance themselves from the reality of it all… And those people are born to make the same mistakes again…
Keeping The Distance
Beneath this earth young warriors sleep
Forever more, forever more,
And for what myth was it they died,
Who sent them here forever?
To bury them, so far away
From farm and village, hearth and soil?
We dare not ask of why or how,
We dare not think too hard of them!
We need not question of ourselves,
Of how we let them go so far,
So we may keep our distance safe
Can paint their pictures in our mind
Of how they sacrificed their lives;
Of how they died so willingly,
On land that did not give them birth,
Noblesse Oblige, they sleep the earth.
We know they did not wail or scream,
Nor cry nor piss their pants in fear!,
They did not spill their crimson guts
Through gaping wounds of steel-sliced flesh,
Or stare in numbness at their blood
That pulsed and squirted, stained the soil.
We know they did not weep for mother,
Nor curse their fate nor bawl in pain,
Or seek to find their missing limbs,
While dragging stumps through fiery ground,
Or smelled their own flesh, burning stench!
Nor whimpered soft through blood blind eyes,
As whistling breath through gaping throats
Shot out their life in scarlet spurts.
We do not wish them here at home
To find eternal, lasting sleep,
No, better stay in foreign lands,
Where they sacrificed their life,
No, t’is better they remain unseen,
To keep their distance and our dream
To keep them heroes, sight unseen,
For sure, they died as noble men,
Not terror-stricken sons and boys,
For if this myth were proved untrue,
How could we ever face ourselves?
How could we ever…be so cruel?
Curtis D Bennett
Anthem for doomed youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous 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 goodbyes.
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.
September – October, 1917