Rememberance

Major John McCrae .

Poppy photographed on the First World War battlefield of the Somme near the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.

Inspiration for “In Flanders Fields”

During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. He was a friend of commander Major John McCrae .

John McCrae was a field Dr in the same unit as his friend Alexis. For some reason the Chaplin was called away and so John was asked to take the funeral service for his friend. It is thought that in the evening after the funeral he wrote his most famous poem. In Flanders field.

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The Poem is so sad, it speaks of how so many young men died, cruel and painful deaths on the muddy fields and squalid trenches of Ypres. He talks about the larks bravely singing, as I see it he is alluding to the fact that life just goes on as this evil war raged. “The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

They died so quickly without warning, though better that than maimed and dying slowly in agony. They were young, they had lovers, family and then they were gone so suddenly. I think they hung around for a while as ghosts trying to adjust to death.

The dead, he tells us, implore those who follow them to take up the torch and fight the enemy to the end. For if they loose or shirk the challenge the dead will never rest and forever haunt the poppy fields of Flanders.

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Just a thought crosses my mind. What would those dead men buried under Flanders field have though of the tanks and foot soldiers of the 2nd world war. The young men of the 1st world war thought they were fighting the war to end all wars…………. Sadly they were so wrong. War strides on as I type.

I think the video from Black Adder goes fourth says everything there is to say on war.

poppies

Bright young Men

We sent them off to war,

These bright young men

We had no knowledge of what they saw,

They came home bright young men no more .

Yes though brave they were no longer whole

Those that survived had no soul.

Many died,the lucky ones, death to them was kind.

Those who returned were faded in body and in mind.

Their loved ones at first relieved

Soon found they had much cause to grieve.

Though there, in body broken,

Their fears left unspoken

Their minds were left behind.

They went out whole, these bright young things.

They returned lost, holding on by gossimar strings

Taplow Court

They went full of pride for God and King

They ran head long into hell

On return they could not relinquish it’s bad spell.

So we had a nation of half men, half ghosts

Fearful, their heads still had them at their posts.

The trenches and the blasts of bombs, the smell of death

Clung to them and bled them dry, the whole in body, the blind of eye

The amputee, it was as if they had never left.

We sent them off to war,

These bright young men

We had no knowledge of what they saw,

They returned bright young men no more.

SONY DSC

Paintings by William Rothenstein.

Naani : Remember Them.

Image from BBC News

Shoulder to shoulder

They stand. Far too many

To count. They fought

In the air, on sea and land.

Image from Pixabay

Thursday photo prompt: Calm #writephoto

This is my entry for Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo’s #writephoto.

Calm (Lest we forget)

BOOM! Tom came to with a start. Everything ached, he was cold and wet. Slowly things came into focus and so did the realisation of where he was.

Will lay next to him dead eyes staring up at the sky. It wasn’t really Will he told himself, Will had gone earlier. Tom cried, how could he tell his mum that he had shot her son.

Will had stepped on a mine there had not been much of him left. He had begged Tom to kill him. Tom had held him and told him to hold on, he’d be alright. He had held him tight, screaming over Will’s groans “stretcher bearer”.

After five minutes a voice down the line shouted “If you don’t put that poor bastard out of his misery, mate, I will do for the both of you.”

Will had looked him in the eye and mouthed “please” so Tom shot him.

The silence was deafening, yes there were shells and bullets all around him. Everyone went about their business. That must of been when he had passed out.

Will was cold and stiff, how long had he been laid here with him Tom asked himself. It was dark now and the shells and tracers lit the sky.

Tom eased himself out from under Will’s body. The others were lining up for food so he joined them. Halfway through their meal orders came that they would be pushing forward at 19.30 hrs.

Tom felt nothing, yet some of the men were excited, others like Tom remaind silent. Tom looked at his watch, 19.00hrs. Looking down he noticed he was covered in mud and blood. He felt sick and sad that he would have to leave Will behind.

So the next half hour Tom went through the motions, checking his gun and anmunition. At 19.25 sharp the wooden ladders were put up to the wall of the trench. They all stood there in the damp, cold, dark squelching in the mud. Some prayed, some swore, some smoked, Tom just stood staring and shaking.

At 19.30 precisely the whistles blew and they all when up the ladders and into noman’s land.

Wire cutters at the ready, in the vain hope they might get to use them. Bullets and shells whizzed and exploded all around them . They fell, some immediately dead, some yet to die …a few to live another day.

Tom didn’t see the bullet coming but he felt it hit his forehead. As he fell others trampled over him. The last words he heard were those of the Officer calling the men on “For King and Country Lads”

Tom awoke for the second time that day. It took him a while to take in his surroundings. He was dry and warm and clean, no mud? … “Here Tommy boy, just as you like it hot milky and three sugars.” Tom looked up into Will’s loving eyes. “No more fighting for us Tommy , we’ve found peace” Tom sipped his tea and smoked a fag taking in the crowed room…there were so many people a sea of calm souls. Beyond he saw the stream where he and will played as children.

Thursday Photo Prompt.

The Red, the White and the Purple

I do not want to upset anyone but as we draw near to Rememberance Day I just wanted to share my feelings on the poppies we wear.

There are more than one, these days, the red to remember the dead, the white for peace. To remember the conscientious objector. During WW1 and WW2 many thought these men were cowards. I do feel they were brave enough to stand up for their beliefs. Many were tried and shot for not taking up arms. Many spent the war as medics and stretcher bearers unarmed or in the mines.

What ever you think, the wars killed them irrespective of their principles. I respect the Red and the White.

The Red and the White.

Why

Argue

Both were brave

Each had their own

Principles to up

Hold. Neither less than bold.

One would carry a weapon

The other a stretcher, no gun

Both men died for their own held beliefs

They were both lost and that loss brought much grief.

———

Then there is the Purple Poppy in remembrance of all the animals who died in service during conflicts.

They pulled the gun carriages until they dropped

They carried messages and they got shot.

They search out the unexploded mines

They save lives a thousand times.

Spare a thought for the horse, pigeon, donkey dog and many more

Remember them, they all help us in times of war.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 27/JANUARY. 70YEARS ON.

Today  is  Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) is a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in The Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

On  this  day  70 years  ago  the Russian Troops  arrived  at and liberated   Auschwitz.  I have  written  two poems to try and express how terrible  Auschwitz and the other death camps were.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Arrival

The  train stopped!

Days had  passed, lost count

Pleople  had died  like  flies they’d dropped.

The  smell the fear, bad  enough, began to  to mount.

 

Get out,  Get out  get out, quick , quick

They  screamed at them , move, move  are you thick?

The  dead  and  weak at the front they scrapped to  the floor

The  rest of them  fell or stumbled out of the door.

 

Line  up , women and children here

Men and teenage  boys over there .

They  did not  know  the  significance

Right, left  , life  death  the difference.

 

The  old,   the babies , those  who were weak

Went one  way, lost  forever  tired, quiet and meek.

The  S.S. doctors selected  the fit and  the strong

To  work  them to death …… It  would  not take  long.

 

This  way , hurry  we have nice showers  for you

You won’t  need  your  clothes we will give  you all something new.

Into  the showers yes  mixed no room for shyness or  shame

Who  bloody  cares  you will never  be seeing anyone  again.

 

Thousands when into the” Shower Blocks” unsure  and scared

No one  came out  alive,  hydrogen cyanide made  sure  they died .

Sonderkommandos where waiting  to clear  the  dead bodies 

Into the furnaces , the doors open wide.

 

Those who  went the other  way

Were stripped and shaved, to survive another day

They were registered  and given   numbered tattoos

Forced  through  a shower given striped pyjams and wooden shoes.

 

No one lasted long they were worked to death

The  food was to little  and  people  would fight

To survive , but hunger  and exhaustion took their last breath

Or a bullllet, a surgeons knife , a beating  or sicknes  in the night.

____________________________________________________

Voices

Tell me now and tell me true

What have I ever  done to you

I have never even raised  my voice

Tell me now is it  a crime to be a Jew.

 

Why did you  you take  my baby

Left me to live this evil life

Snatched from my breast , leaving me crazy.

All my  family  gone, escaped, at least  this strife.

 

I no longer see men , women or children

I just see bodies, I push them through

I scrape  them out again to burn

They will kill me  too, I am a Sonderkommando what can I do.

 

Turn away do not  look

Here comes  the Kapo 

Don’t get in his bad book.

He is  the one in the know.

 

Yes sir  no  sir , lick  your boots

I shall do anything  to stay alive

I’ve no family  left  or any  roots.

If you like me I  might just  thrive……….

___________________________________________

I cannot  write  enough in this  blog  it would  be never ending . I do urge  you to read The Holocaust Explained . I would also recommend  a film  The Devils Arithmatic  it is a very  good  film  and even children  could  watch and  learn  much  from it.

I have done  my  best  with this post, I cannot do the subject justice  but I have done my  best.

I cannot  apologize  for the words or  photographic material, all I can say is, it is all true.

PLEASE MAY WE NEVER FORGET. 

Lady from the tower of light.

Lady From The Tower Of Light

 

IMAG1350Lady from the tower of light

Speed you safely on your flight.

We are so sad  to see you go

To where or  what  we do not kow.

You went so suddenly  into  the night

You  had  your reasons not to fight.

We had no time to say goodye

But from our souls, to you, our feelings fly.

 

Lady from the tower of light

Now is our chance  to set  things  right.

We have  always held  you dear

That  will not change now  you are not here.

Goodbyes that where not  said

Feel worse while rumbling around inside a head.

You were a joy to us all your days

I think we showed you so in a thousand ways.

 

Lady  from the tower of light

In our thoughts,  though out of sight.

You  have left a wonderful legasy

Johnathan, Nicholas and Lyndsey.

They always filled  your  heart with pride

And grandcildren your love,  for whom, you could not hide .

They will have you with them for all their years

You  will share  their laughter and dry  their tears.

 

Lady from the tower of light

We send you forth with happy  thoughts  for your flight.

Now we have our chance to say what we feel

You  where good  and kind your actions real.

You may be out of touch and far away

Yet we will think fondly of you often, if not each day.

So lovely lady from the  tower of light

Sit back relax  and enjoy  your flight.

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The name Madeleine is a Hebrew baby name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Madeleine is: From the tower. Also The name Madeleine is a French baby name. In French the meaning of the name Madeleine is: Woman of Magdala. Tower.

I change the meaning slightly for poetic affect.

My tribute  to a dear friend.

 

 

 

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