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In Flanders Field

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


On holiday last year we came across this wonderful poem on the side of a building. The gates were padlocked shut, so I had to take the picture at an angle.

This year is a very different ANZAC Day for us. We are in Lockdown, so no official commemorations, although many (like our tireless PM) got up at 6 am & stood silently in their driveways. I marked it at 8.30 am. It is a beautiful day & I could hear a single drum, beating a lonely tattoo.

To respect Lockdown, (& social distancing) I went to our War Memorial Monument yesterday. It was a perfect day & I was standing in the olive grove that has been planted behind The Monument.

I had a walk in our silent town. A poppy from the museum where I normally volunteer a couple of times a month.

In front of someone’s home.

This is an expanded picture. Not very good & it isn’t clear that this is rosemary in the planters.

And on another fence. This guy would probably laugh to be called an artist, but he has done a number of metal sculptures in our town.

Supposedly, the original version of this moving poem had “grow” rather than “blow” for the poppies. I think I prefer this, but either way this rondeau written for a fallen friend is extremely moving. McCrae died of pneumonia near the end of the war.Lest we forget.

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The War Poems

The War Poems

The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


4.5★

Siegfried Loraine Sassoon. Did his parents think being bullied was character forming??? What a choice of Christian names.

On ANZAC Day I didn’t get as far through Sassoon’s poems as I hoped. A holiday, Airbnb, tax returns have all eaten into my reading time. But I appreciated what I read.

Suicide in the TrenchesSassoon’s most popular poem on the Poem Hunter website. Shows the depth of Sassoon’s disenchantment. 5★

Aftermath You want The Great War romanticized? Don’t read Sassoon!

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–

5★

A Letter Home On first acquaintance, Sassoon couldn’t stand

Robert Graves

Robert Graves. Later they became close friends. With this poem (indeed a most powerful form of letter!) Sassoon was mourning his dead lover, homesick, missing Graves friendship. Gentle, wistful rather than angry. Didn’t get the last part. Please someone – enlighten me! 4★

Blighters. Short, angry, raw 4★

The Glory of Women Satirical, on the lack of understanding shown by those who would never fight. 5★

So I didn’t get far but was amazed by what I read.

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