Monday, November 11, 2019

Cascade of Poppies in Memory at Canterbury...

10,000 poppies were knitted or crocheted to create a blood-red cascade of colour that drape the walls in one of the passage-ways in Canterbury, so that people might stop and think of the thousands upon thousands of lives lost in the Great War. I do hope this is the case, but suspect many simply sweep past on their shopping quest, caught up in the flow of their material concerns, phones welded to their hands, much as myself this Saturday. However I did pause to think how strange it is that we unwittingly allow ourselves to be carried away by this frenzy of consumption - feeding our minds on the prospect of the latest fix, ever driven by this unsatiable thirst for easy entertainment and acquisition. In so doing, we no longer take stock of our lives, except to find it wanting in some respect, when we do in fact have so much to be grateful for.

                                      Aftermath - Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    For the world's events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
    Like traffic checked a while at the crossing of city ways:
    And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
    Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you're a man reprieved to go,
    Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
    But the past is just the same—and War's a bloody game...
    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you'll never forget.

    Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz—
    The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
    Do you remember the rats; and the stench
    Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench—
    And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
    Do you ever stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'

    Do you remember that hour of din before the attack—
    And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
    As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
    Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
    With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-gray
    Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

    Have you forgotten yet?...
    Look up, and swear by the slain of the war that you'll never forget!

    March 1919.

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