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In Remembrance of those Who Served (2022)

11 November, 2022

Remember.It is fitting the weather here is again grey and sullen as another Armistice Day (in modern parlance Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the US) is once againhere.  As Armistice Day it originally served as a remembrance of the end of the Great War, the Armistice that ended the war starting at 11:11am on 11 November 1918, and those who served and died there.  Since then, it has been expanded to include the many others who have served and died for their country in honorable service through the years.

If you remember, pause for a minute of silence to honor the brave soldiers and other members of the armed forces that have guarded us -and still do- at 11:11am.

While it has been my wont in recent years to find poems from lesser-known war poets, for this year, an Irishman:

The Dead Kings

By Francis Ledwidge
All the dead kings came to me
At Rosnaree, where I was dreaming,
A few stars glimmered through the morn,
And down the thorn the dews were streaming.
 
And every dead king had a story
Of ancient glory, sweetly told.
It was too early for the lark,
But the starry dark had tints of gold.
 
I listened to the sorrows three
Of that Eire passed into song.
A cock crowed near a hazel croft,
And up aloft dim larks winged strong.
 
And I, too, told the kings a story
Of later glory, her fourth sorrow:
There was a sound like moving shields
In high green fields and the lowland furrow.
 
And one said: ‘We who yet are kings
Have heard these things lamenting inly.’
Sweet music flowed from many a bill
And on the hill the morn stood queenly.
 
And one said: ‘Over is the singing,
And bell bough ringing, whence we come;
With heavy hearts we’ll tread the shadows,
In honey meadows birds are dumb.’
 
And one said: ‘Since the poets perished
And all they cherished in the way,
Their thoughts unsung, like petal showers
Inflame the hours of blue and grey.’
 
And one said: ‘A loud tramp of men
We’ll hear again at Rosnaree.’
A bomb burst near me where I lay.
I woke, ’twas day in Picardy.

Notes: Photo of the Irish National War Memorial in Dublin, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

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