Three poems for Armistice Day. The first is very popular in Britain at this time of year, For The Fallen by Lawrence Binyon. The full poem can be found here, but the fourth verse always draws a tear to my eye:
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.
Second, lest we forget the true horror of the Great War, Wilfred Owen’s 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 good-byes.
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.
Finally, one from Private Isaac Rosenberg, a reminder that there was more than one enemy in that war, and that science and progress have done much to make our soldiers’ lives more bearable, for which we should also be thankful. You can read The Immortals here.