Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lest We Forget

They shall not grow old
As we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We shall remember them

Remembering all those who have given their lives in war enabling those of us who came after to live in freedom and peace.

A corner of a foreign field.
The grave of AC2 Harold Harrison in Jakarta War Cemetery, Java. 2 June 1942

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Edited 11 Nov 2007

JulieMarie asked where the lines at the beginning of this post come from - they are from a poem written in 1914 by Laurence Binyon after the battles of Mons and Le Cateau where the British casualties were very heavy. The lines I quote are always said at the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance which the Queen and all the members of the Royal Family attend on the Saturday night preceding Remembrance Sunday and at nearly all the services held at cenotaphs across the UK. Below is the poem in full.

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Robert Binyon, 1869-1943


Shropshire Girl said...

Agreed. It is as important as ever to wear our poppies with pride.

PAT said...

Lovely post, Rowan.


Sheila said...

Lest we forget.
I've always loved 'The Soldier', sadly there are far too many corners of the earth that will be
'forever England'

Julie said...

Oh, Rowan,

I cannot believe I forgot the Rupert Brooke poem. I love it so. It always makes me cry.

Please check out my blog from today. The e-card uses a line from the poem you quote at the top of your post. I didn't know it was from a poem. Do you know who it is by?


Janet said...

A beautiful tribute, Rowan.

Miss Robyn said...

that first poem is one we learned as children in school here.. and is always recited at ANZAC ceremonies and Remembrance Day ceremonies.. it sends shivers up my spine along with the Last Post

yes, we SHALL remember them. xo

Unknown said...

As long as you and I and ours live, so then shall they! For we shall remember them to those who come after.
Beautiful words to bring home the rememberance.

Breezy said...

Rowan that was a beautiful post. I have never seen that poem in full although of course I have heard the lines for Rememberance day time and time again. Thank you for posting it.

Anonymous said...

looks like I have missed a few posts since I last stopped by but I have had a good time catching up with them. I greatly enjoyed seeing the photos of you as a child. You are tall aren't you? They are really lovely pics. The new england mansions look so wonderful too. What a shame your host couldnt make it to the others, I would have been disappointed too. Beautiful rememberance day poetry also, reminds everyone of how great a scarifice was made and is still made in many countries.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

So many sons, brothers, sweethearts who didn't come back.
So sad.

Linda G. said...

A beautiful post Rowan. As soon as I dry my eyes, I'm going to pull mine and add a link to yours:)

Jenny said...

It seems like fewer and fewer people are stopping to remember those that have fallen as the pre-Christmas rush gets earlier and earlier every year. Thank you for the reminder.

Ragged Roses said...

A beautiful post Rowan
Kim x

Tea said...

Really nice post Rowan. The reason behind poppies should never be forgotten.


Amy said...

yes we say lest we forget here in nz too. Ours is remember in April for Anzac day...

Rosie said...

I think those few lines from the Binyon poem are wonderful they make me sad but lift my spirits both at the same time. No wonder they are chosen for the Festival of Remembrance.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we'll ever forget, though it'd be nice to think that we learnt from our past wars and losses. Perhaps we wouldn't be so eager to enter into new ones.

Lovely post.

smilnsigh said...

All give/gave some, some give/gave all. May we never forget.


Unknown said...

Having heard that for as long as I can remember at Remembrance Day services I had no idea it came from a longer poem by Binyon - thanks for sharing that with us

kate smudges said...

It was good to read these poems again ... thank you Rowan.

laoi gaul~williams said...

this is lovely Rowan, thank you.
my great grandad was wiped from the family memory when he died in 1918...i have been busy changing that recently.