And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Alan Seeger, born in 1888. Twenty eight years later he had his rendezvous with death at Belloy-en-Santerre on July 4, 1916. Seeger spent two years in the French Foreign Legion; as an American citizen he could not join the French military, so he did the next best thing and joined the Legion, since the United States had not yet entered the war against the Central Powers. After graduating from Harvard in 1910, Seeger lived for two years in Greenwich Village where he wrote poetry and enjoyed the life of a young bohemian. The poetry he wrote then and while he was at the front was not published until 1917, a year after his death.
I have picked this poem for the sad and intense meaning in it is as relevant now as it was when written in the first world war. It shows the strangest of reasons for doing anything the “Gentleman’s agreement ”
Yes it stand as foolishly proud today as it did back then. It has no language boundaries nor borders it is within every man. Seeger obviously does not mean he has a rendezvous with death on a date known to him but he knows ( as many do ) that they will die.
The last verse tells us he would rather lie in scented sheets with his love , I take this to mean that he would rather live and have all that life encompasses. Yet he has sworn allegiance ,in his case , to France in the French Foreign Legion,sworn his life away. As do soldiers all around the world . Politicians decree wars and then millions of nameless on both sides Have a Rendezvous with Death.
Why do they stay and fight because of the gentleman’s agreement ? Yes. They all know the odds and yet they have sworn so they stay! So their families pay the price of their gentleman’s agreement.The world spins seasons come and go but nothing can stop this rendezvous.
So be it club, spear, arrow ,rifle, cannon, gun, bayonet,land mine, tank, bomb, missile or I.E.D. the soldier keeps his Rendezvous with death. So sad, such a waste.
I have decided to take the one poem a week option.
Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here. Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:
Poetry Challenge #8 is similar to Challenge #7 but the poems are all poems by “unestablished” poets posting poems to their blogs. Details are here. Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #8 is directly below:
I am with 12 years of experience and ready to achieve any type of works such as, converting any form from JPG, PDF, ...etc into Excel,Word, PowerPoint and other editable forms, In addition to having a deep experience in inserting and managing data