Page Two

Remembrance Poems

Hope
and Survival

Page Three

Remembrance Poems

Facing Reality

Page Four

Remembrance Poems

Personal Loss

Page Five

Remembrance Poems

Critical

Remembrance Poems

Hope and Survival

Poems on this page

A wish by  Maxine Kendall

St Paul's by Namur King

Making or Breaking by David Roberts

There will be peace by David Roberts

Ode to a snowdrop during wartime by Namur King

A Wish

Maybe it is pointless
To wish for lasting peace
For all mankind to lay down arms
For all fighting to cease

I could despair of seeing
Peace throughout the land
No longer hearing talk of war
Blood mixed with desert sand

We do not have the tolerance
For cultures not our own
Seeds fly on an ill wind
From beds where they are sown

Hope lies in a child's heart
Not yet turned to stone
A mind free of prejudice
A child not alone

If all children of the world
Held each others hand
They could do what we could not
Make a Brotherhood of Man.

Maxine Kendall
Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Maxine Kendall was born in the UK

St Paul's
(London May 11th 1941)

I walked to Ludgate Hill down from the Strand,
By broken beauty of a City’s shattered breast;
Where streets, tradition-steeped, were piled
With debris; where men fought fire to wrest,
From fiercest hate, the fragments of a grand
And glorious heritage; untiring men, who smiled.

I saw St. Clements Dane, and thought of Spring,
Of fashionable weddings and decades now done;
But smouldering walls and empty aisles were hushed
With silence of rebuke for splendour gone;
From ruined pews lost echoes seemed to ring
With peals of praise, but ravished bells lay crushed.

Then, poised out of chaos and this Dantesque dream,
Shrouded by smoke, the high familiar dome,
Splendidly proud above the crumbling walls
And devastation, the symbol of our Home,
And Britain’s faith and effort, shone supreme,
An edifice of glory, old St. Pauls.

Namur King

New Year's Eve was approaching and I thought of the dawning of a new century, as Thomas Hardy had done one hundred years earlier. This poem was in part inspired by the first pictures of the earth taken from space. In the simplest possible terms the poem Making or Breaking sets out the choice before each of us. DR

Making or breaking

We inherit

the world, 
the whole of history, 
our place on earth, 
our place in time, 
our fortune, good or bad, 
pure chance.

Now, 
in one picture, 
we see our entire planet: 
 

 

 

 

Ours 
for the breaking 

or making.

David Roberts 
12 December 1999

one world, 

one race, 

one future, 

bound together for the first time.

The above poem was set to music by Norwegian composer, Kim André Arnesen in 2016. In February 2017, as a choral piece, it was performed by the Kantorei Choir in Denver, Colorado. In 2018 it came out on a Naxos CD entitled Infinity.

A video of Making or Breaking made by the composer

There Will Be Peace

There will be peace:


when attitudes change; 
when self-interest is seen as part of common interest; 
when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes 
are deleted from the account; 
when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit 
rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain; 
when justice and equality before the law 
become the basis of government; 
when basic freedoms exist; 
when leaders - political, religious, educational - and the police and media 
wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal; 
when parents teach their children new ways to think about people.


There will be peace: 
when enemies become fellow human beings.

 

David Roberts 
1999.

There will be peace is a re-written version of the poem which appeared in Kosovo War Poetry in 2000. (See Books page.) It was written with the relations between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in Kosovo in the years around 1999, in mind,  but I also had in mind the relations between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.  DR    To Kosovo War Poetry page. (link)

 
Ode to a snowdrop during wartime

Fragile flower, hiding your tender purity 
In the green shrouds of unborn daffodils; 
Tentative symbol of the ultimate surety, 
Of Spring, you bring 
A waft of beauty to these derelict hills.

Here is mud ! A sticky, filthy, foul morass,
Churned by marching men and wheels endlessly turning;
Where once were flowers and trees, soft dew-moist grass
And mossy banks - now tanks
Trundle noisily through, and the woods are burning.

And yet, I know the vibrant life that lies 
Deep in defoliated trees, small flower; 
All of Summer's sweetness soon to rise, 
The drift, the lift 
Eternally, now in your loneliest hour.

Namur King

Cover Rembrnce final 3 2015 jpeg.jpg

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The original War Poetry Website, researched and edited by David Roberts for nearly 20 years, 1999-2018 was number one in search results for "war poetry" for over 15 years. Re-written and re-designed 2019, it was launched 16 May 2019 at warpoetry.uk and replaces the original which used to be found at www.warpoetry.co.uk . Copyright 2019 David Roberts.