Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile AT: Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn Previous Previous Next Next
As yearly, we shall remember. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
As yearly, we shall remember.
Remembrance: Old Soldiers at the Cenotaph

The Bath chair or the Zimmer frame,
The agèd, gnarled, claw-like hand:
Was it to this that heroes came
In England’s green and pleasant land?

Do generations give just due
To those who faced the direst foe:
The Senior Service and the Few,
The BEF of long ago?

Burma – (Blenheim, Ramillies –),
The Mons Canal, El Alamein,
The ancient wars that won the peace
Are figured in their names again;

The trenches of the Kaiser’s war,
The aerodromes at grass in Kent,
The surge of ships in seas afar,
The bagpipes in the Orient –

‘Old men forget’? No. These persist,
Though backs are bent and eyes are blear,
The best who graced the Army List
When backs were straight and eyes were clear.

Or do they wish they slept beside
Their fellows who will not grow old,
The proven true however tried,
Refined from dross and wholly gold?

Ghost-comrades in a rank and file
That reaches back past Waterloo
Fall in behind them – with a smile,
That tells the warrior’s point of view.

The long, thin, red, unbroken line
Of history and struggle shared
Makes glories that will long outshine
The simple facts our school texts blared.

And these, now spent with weight of days,
Yet stand erect in heart and thought,
And match the bovine, staring gaze
Of those who live because they fought;

These yet, as honour fades and goes,
In times made fat and dull with peace,
Enjoy the warrior’s right repose
Who paid in blood for civil ease.

Tags: ,

2 comments or Leave a comment
eglantine_br From: eglantine_br Date: November 11th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have seen them, just as you describe. We have those old men on this side too.

My husband was in the US Navy for 20 years. I got to see lots of old men. What I remember is the way that they watched us, younger men and women.

They were willing to talk, if I talked to them, and tell what ships they had been on, or what beaches they landed on. (Some were Marines.) But they restrained themselves, out of kindness, from saying too much.

Only the other old men really understood.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 12th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)


And so it ever was, and shall be - save when the younger men and women are themselves blooded.
2 comments or Leave a comment