Remembrance

A poignant day in the annual calendar, 11th of November, two minutes silence at the 11th hour, to remember those who have fallen in battle, and to hope that one day it will stop happening, sadly, I think it’s a vain hope, but we have to hold on to it regardless.

in the spirit of remembrance, or at least memories, we took a drive down to one of my old haunts, and one of my favourite places, Retford. I haven’t been there for over 20 years but I have many fond memories of playing gigs at the Newcastle Arms, and going down regularly to hang out with the friends we made there, Claire, Lynsey, Sarah, Sonia, Brads and all the rest. It was nice to wander round the town, seeing the spots that are still there, and discovering new ones that have come along since the last time. I got to thinking about the friends we made, I haven’t heard from any of them since those days, and I wonder where they are, I hope they’re all well, happy, and living the lives they want to live.

I also got to thinking about my own family, my grandparents, who lived through the war, saw their families expand, but in the case of my maternal grandparents, died all too soon and missed seeing us grow into the people we have become. I hope they would be proud of us all.

it’s been better today, than yesterday, I’ve not had any time by myself to think too deeply, that’s always when things get to their darkest, I’m trying to train myself to switch off at those times, but my mind has never liked being silent, there’s always some background noise, so the best I can strive for is to turn the volume down as much as I can. I’m trying to meditate, but so far it’s hard to clear the space in my head to let the thoughts run free and to focus on the calm.

one thing is certain, I feel fortunate that I have never had to go to war, to face making the ultimate sacrifice, but I’m also eternally grateful to those who have, young men sent to die by old men with money and power, for reasons they can’t comprehend, because they believe in freedom, and serving their country.

Dulce Et Decorum Est – by Wilfred Owen

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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