Remembrance Poems
 

Page One of Five

Poems in a traditional vein

We start with Laurence Binyon's immortal words,

followed by one of the most popular modern poems for remembrance. This can be spoken as a prayer or sung as a hymn, although it has the title "Hymn for Remembrance Sunday". Author,  Charles Henrywood.

 Events: Poems, prayers, lyrics,famous statements and speeches

Other pages of
Remembrance Poems

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 in a traditional vein

Page One of Five

Words for Remembrance Day

The words of Laurence Binyon


They shall grow not old

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.
Laurence Binyon, 1869 - 1943

From Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914

The full poem, For the Fallen, is printed in both Minds at War and Out of the Dark. Binyon's poem, For the Fallen, is also printed in Remembrance Poems and Readings.

 

Many more poems in a traditional vein follow. See the list.
 

A Hymn for Remembrance Sunday

May be used as a prayer

or sung to the music, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius


Grant peace, O Lord, across our strife-torn world,
Where war divides and greed and dogma drive.
Help us to learn the lessons from the past,
That all are human and all pay the price.
All life is dear and should be treated so;
Joined, not divided, is the way to go.

Protect, dear Lord, all who, on our behalf,
Now take the steps that place them in harm's way.
May they find courage for each task they face
By knowing they are in our thoughts always.
Then, duty done and missions at an end,
Return them safe to family and friends.

Grant rest, O Lord, to those no longer with us;
Who died protecting us and this their land.
Bring healing, Lord, to those who, through their service,
Bear conflict’s scars on body or in mind.
With those who mourn support and comfort share.
Give strength to those who for hurt loved-ones care.

And some there be who no memorial have;
Who perished are as though they’d never been.
For our tomorrows their today they gave,
And simply asked that in our hearts they'd live.
We heed their call and pledge ourselves again,
At dusk and dawn - we will remember them!

Voice:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

ALL SAY
We will remember them.

Charles Henrywood, 2009                                

Some background notes on this hymn/prayer by the author, Charles Henrywood
 

Remembrance should refer, in addition to the past, to both present and future, all three of which require action on our part.


Until very recently, the War Memorials in Neath, South Wales, officially commemorated only those who died in the two World Wars. Then, in 2008 a group of us who attended the Remembrance parades at the Memorial Gates each year decided it was time those members of our Armed Forces who had given their lives since 1945 should also have a memorial. This view was reinforced when we learned that, other than 1963, not a year had passed without at least on of our Servicemen being killed in the line of duty —peacekeeping comes at a price!

This required money and my role was to organise a fund-raising concert performed by our local Silver Band and six Male Choirs. Although a concert, each of the choirs made it clear they also saw it as an act of remembrance and it was agreed the evening should end with a hymn to be sung by massed choirs and audience.

That raised the question as to which hymn. I couldn't help thinking about that phrase from Ecclesiasticus

"And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been".

Then lines from our Remembrance parades joined in. The first, from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen:

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.

The second from “The Kohima Epitaph", commemorating those Allied troops who fell in the Burma Campaign.

"When you go home tell them of us and say -
For your tomorrow we gave our today."

From the above you'll see that the final verse of the hymn had just about written itself!

The rest came remarkably quickly. I've always believed that Remembrance should not be limited to the dead—important though that is. Neither should it be a vehicle for glorifying war. If we loved one another as commanded war would be just history. We don't but that shouldn't stop us asking for help to do so.

At the time, there were young men and women from our town serving in Afghanistan who deserved better than to be forgotten—hence the second verse.

The third verse is a statement of my strong belief that the living victims of conflict need and deserve our support and should not be forgotten.

I used "Finlandia" as the musical framework as it is one of the most moving pieces I know.

The choirs accepted the piece and it was used as the final item in the “Six Choirs and a Silver Band” concert on 28th March 2009.

The new memorial was dedicated on 13th June 2009.

That, In a nutshell, was the genesis of "Remembrance".

Copyright waived for Remembrance use

The copyright for this work remains with me. However, I have decided that, if used in an act of Remembrance or in aid of Service charities, copyright is waived.


Charles Henrywood.

Let us know. If you choose to use Charles Henrywood's words at a Remembrance Service. I know he would be pleased to hear of it. If you write a message to him and email it to me I will forward it to him.

David Roberts, Website Editor.

 
Cover Rembrnce final 3 2015 jpeg.jpg

List of Remembrance Poems
in a traditional vein

The poems follow the list

 

Taking a stand    John Bailey
We who remain    Anthony Devanny
Remember Me    Harry Riley
Home at last    Tony Church
I do not know your name    Kenny Martin
The Crosses    Bill Mitton
Remembrance Day    Namur King 1915-1968
Memories of past times    Anne-Marie Spittle
Do you know?    Anne-Marie Spittle
Some Corner of a Foreign Field     David Mace
I Went to See the Soldiers    Kenny Martin
New Generation Veterans    David J Delaney
Last Post    Paul du Plessis
Life and soul of the mess    John Bailey
The volunteer    John Bailey
Remembrance Sunday    Maria Cassee
11.11.11    James Love
He is gone    David Harkin
A Turkish memorial to ANZAC troops    Mustafa Kemal Attaturk
The Eternal Soldier    Mark Vine
Eternal Soldier    Anne Marie Spittle

Taking a Stand

I ask you to stand with me
For both the injured and the lost 
I ask you to keep count with me 
Of all the wars and what they cost 
I ask you to be silent with me 
Quietly grateful for our lot 
As I expect you're as thankful as me 
For the health and life we've got 
I ask that you wish them well with me 
All those still risking their all 
And I ask that you remember with me 
The names of those that fall 
I expect that you are proud like me 
Of this great nation of ours too 
So enjoying all its freedoms like me 
Support those upholding them for you 
I hope that you are hopeful like me 
That we'll soon bring an end to wars 
So you'll have to stand no more with me 
And mourning families no different from yours 
'Til then be thankful you can stand with me 
Thinking of those who now cannot 
For standing here today with me 
At least we show they're not forgot 

John Bailey 
© Copyright May 2011

"This poem was written as a response to those who protest at soldiers funerals."  JB
                                       

We Who Remain

Anthony Devanny introduces his poem -  "I am currently still a serving soldier within 3 YORKS, having just returned from a third tour of Afghanistan which saw us lose 10 Brothers. I sat at home this morning waiting to go remember and started to write."

WO2 Anthony Devanny, 3 YORKS


Virtutis Fortuna Comes

We are indeed the lucky and unlucky ones,
As we are the ones who have lived to tell the tales of those we once knew

We are the ones who carry those scars of things seen, done and lost
We are the ones who must never let those who are not here be forgotten by the new

We are the ones who will never need to be reminded that "We will Remember Them"
As We are the ones who will always remember those we forever call friend.

Anthony Devanny

Remember Me


(A poem for Armistice Day  -  The voice of the dead)

Remember me
Duty called and I went to war
Though I'd never fired a gun before
I paid the price for your new day
As all my dreams were blown away

Remember me
We all stood true as whistles blew
And faced the shell and stench of Hell
Now battle's done, there is no sound
Our bones decay beneath the ground
We cannot see, or smell, or hear
There is no death, or hope or fear

Remember me
Once we, like you, would laugh and talk
And run and walk and do the things that you all do
But now we lie in rows so neat
Beneath the soil, beneath your feet

Remember me
In mud and gore and the blood of war
We fought and fell and move no more
Remember me, I am not dead
I'm just a voice within your head.

Harry Riley

About the poem above.

Harry Riley writes novels, short stories and poetry. He introduces the poem above.

"Standing for the two minutes silence in a local supermarket on Armistice day, my mind conjured up the scene of rows and rows of beautifully kept white head stones and crosses, designating war dead, in the cemeteries across Europe.
If those dead could speak with one voice and send us a message, I wondered what they might say?
The above is my suggestion of what that message could be, only they could tell us:"  HR. 2012.

An American First World War Cemetery in France

Home at Last

He's home at last, a mother's son, a fine young man, his duty done,
Yet not for him the fond embrace, a loving kiss, a smiling face
Or cries of joy to laugh and cheer the safe return of one so dear,
It is his lot to show the world a soldiers fate as flags unfurl
And Standards lower in salutation, symbols of a grateful nation.

Sombre now, the drum beats low, as he is carried, gentle, so
As if not to disturb his rest, by comrades, three and three abreast
Who now, as quiet orders sound, they, one by one then move around
To place him in the carriage decked with flowers in calm and hushed respect,
Preparing for the sad, slow ride through silent crowds who wait outside.

So the warrior now returns to native soil and rightly earns
The great respect to one so young, though sadness stills the waiting throng,
While flowers strew the path he takes, as the carriage slowly makes
A final turning to allow the veterans standing there to show
The soldiers pride, a silent, mute, proud and respectful last salute.

Yet, while onlookers stand and see the simple, moving ceremony,
There is a home, a place somewhere, where sits a waiting, vacant chair,
And one great yawning empty space in someone's heart, no last embrace
To bid a final, fond farewell to one who will forever dwell
In love and cherished memory, a Husband, Son, eternally.

And we who see should not forget that in this soldier's final debt
And sacrifice for duty's sake, it is the loved ones who must take
The hurt, to bear as best they can, and face a future lesser than
The one they dreamed in bygone years, now to regard with bitter tears,
Reflecting, as time intervenes, on thoughts of how it might have been.

But in their grief there's quiet pride that loved ones bravely fought and died
Believing in a worthy goal which helps give solace, and consoles
By knowing that the loss they bear is shared by all our peoples where
In gratitude, their names will be forever honoured, guaranteed
To be remembered and enshrined, beyond the shifting sands of time.

Tony Church

Author's introduction to Home at Last

“One of the sadnesses when I served in Cyprus and Aden was the fact that our servicemen who died on active service were buried in the theatre in which they fell.
I applaud the authorities for the policy of repatriation, and watching the news reports of the ceremonies at Lyneham and Wootton Bassett, felt moved to write these lines.”

Tony Church's military background

Tony Church, is former Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer.

"I ended my 12 years of military service on my return from Aden in 1966. I joined the Army Apprentices in 1955 serving a three year apprenticeship, being transferred into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to serve a further nine years with the Colours and three in the Reserve.I now write the occasional verse and post on the website of the Arborfield Old Boys' Association. One of my contemporaries (with my permission) published a number of my verses under the title of "TeeCee's Arborfield Odes" - obviously of only limited appeal! Now residing in Titchfield, Hants, overlooking the Isle of Wight." TC

I do not know your name 

I do not know your name, but I know you died 
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died 
 
Your uniform, branch of service, it matters not to me 
Whether Volunteer or Conscript, or how it came to be 
That politicians' failures, or some power-mad ambition 
Brought you too soon to your death, in the name of any nation 

You saw, you felt, you knew full well, as friend and foe were taken 
By bloody death, that your life too, was forfeit and forsaken 
Yet on you went and fought and died, in your close and private hell 
For Mate or Pal or Regiment and memories never to tell 

It was for each other, through shot and shell, the madness you endured 
Side by side, through wound and pain, and comradeship assured 
No family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend 
Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end 

We cannot know, we were not there, it's beyond our comprehension 
To know the toll that battle brings, of resolute intention 
To carry on, day by day, for all you loved and hoped for 
To live in peace a happy life, away from bloody war 

For far too many, no long life ahead, free of struggle and pain and the gun 
And we must remember the price that was paid, by each and every one 
Regardless of views, opinions aside, no matter how each of us sees it 
They were there and I cannot forget, even though I did not live it 

I do not know your name, but I know you died 
I do not know from where you came, but I know you died. 

Kenny Martin 
© 2003 

This poem by Kenny Martin was written in 2003 following a visit he made in 2002 with his son to Commonwealth War Graves in the Arnhem/Oosterbeek/Nijmegen area of Holland. 

The Crosses


I stood there before the crosses 
glowing white in row on row
Everyone a young life cut short
as the names upon them show.

The dates they died below the names
tell of wars now past and gone
Passchendaele, the Somme, and Mons
of battles fought, and lost or won.

History remembers, as it should
these men who fought and died 
Whilst for their families left behind
a dull sorrow tinged with pride.

The faces of boys held now in Sepia
who died in days long gone
yet living on in memories 
and hearts, still holding on.

Yet despite the hurt and grief here 
what with horror makes me fill
Is that when I look behind me
there are more new crosses growing still.

Bill Mitton

Memories of past times

See me march past with the others who remember,
But not with my legs do I pound the parade pathway
Wheeled am I for I am old
But the memories do not die as my comrades did

Little Tommy Tomkins the London Cockney Sparrow
Died when his head got blown off
And I saw it roll towards me
And I froze, and then I ran

Nobbie Clark always up with the lark
Died in a mortar attack
There was nothing left to send home
So they sent back anyone’s to keep the widow’s memories

The list goes on and here am I alive
When I should be with them
A forgotten body in a Flanders field
Yet here I am

I am the record keeper of the Great War
A war to end all wars they told us
But on they rage like an unchained animal that has tasted human blood
But not mine

I ask myself why not me
And then one day an answer
"Keep these memories and pass them on
That the young may learn and remember" 

So here I am being wheeled again
Past the memories of a nation
And I remember Tommy and Nobby
Because nobody else alive does

Ann-Marie Spittle

Do you know?

When darkness comes
And with it the shadows of the dead
Do you know?
When battles fought fly around my head
Do you know?
When you speak with an acid tongue
And tell me I was wrong
Do you know the price we paid
In the jungles of Vietnam?

No sit there in your easy chair
And dream your dreams of comfort
Do not break your narrow view
Or try to see from my side
For you break into fear's sweat
If your welfare check’s too late
Or someone knocks upon your door
When its getting to way past eight

You judge me without knowing
And that is no judge at all
For experience tells the adult
What the young do not yet know
Just give me one small ounce of feeling
As a parent to a child
And hug me as my heart is breaking
Right here deep inside

I suffered more than you can know
In that dark leafed place
Where death walked side by side with me
And often showed his face
Some days I did not know if I
Was ever coming home
And then I’m faced with acid rain
From you when I come home

I fought because I’m a soldier
And a warriors hearts beats within me
You comfort-lover would not understand this
So I retreat
But know this when you finally see
Before your last breath leaves you cold
That all I wanted was your love
And not a heart of stone

Ann-Marie Spittle
2006

Some Corner of a Foreign Field

We read the books, we watch the movies; read newspapers... maybe write
a line or so, of poetry; or watch on TV, any night
something, somewhere, of some War... the Media Circus, we all know;
but, to see the cost; then to the North of England, you should go.
For you can pick up any map, choose any town or village there,
and should you travel to that place, then you are quickly made aware
of what War really is about... for each place has its own Stone Cross...
The War Memorial; all closely carved with the Communal loss
of a Generation... all the young men from close-cobbled lanes,
who volunteered to fight for King and Country... few came home again.
 
Grandfather said Recruiting Sergeants travelled round the local pubs,
patriotic fervour... whipping up, in Alehouses and Clubs.
Perhaps, in tow... some floozy from some Music Hall, who danced and sang, 
drawing in the young men, with the... "Come on boys, prove you're a Man.
Come and take the King's Shilling... sign upon the dotted line.
All your pals are joining up. Don't be scared, you'll be just fine!"
And "Pals," then, was the fateful word... some fool in Whitehall hatched a plan
to keep the men from each place, all together in a close-knit band;
called "The Pals Battalions," who would fight together... side by side;
not for comradeship... more fear of shaming in each others eyes.
 
And the young men flooded in; perhaps, to escape drudgery
of Dark, Satanic Mills, Pin Factories or Blistering Iron Foundries.
"By Christmas, it will all be over"... but, so little, did they know,
and, in their hundreds, they signed up, a'soldiering in France, to go.
But, as they marched out of their villages and towns, to cheering crowds,
with flags and bunting gaily waving... old men turned, and said out loud
to each other, shaking heads... no good at all, would come of this;
for in a charge, the Boche could wipe the village out... they could not miss.
And, it was not for nothing, they decried this Military travesty,
for these old men had fought the Boers, and quelled the Indian Mutiny.
 
Knowing then, what modern weaponry could do to flesh and bone;
knowing that the General Staff were so remote, and quite alone
in their belief that Flanders could be fought, the same as Waterloo;
"Lions led by Donkeys" is the phrase Historians use... how true.
The truth is this... forget TV, and what is on the Silver Screen;
forget the faded photographs, for none of this is what it seems.
Forget the grainy film of "No Mans' Land," and "Going over the Top"...
all filmed at home, on Salisbury Plain... a truthless, propaganda sop
fed to the public in the Picture Palaces, to boost morale,
coercing them to buy War Bonds... concealing truth about "The Pals."
 
For, "Going over the Top" was very close to orderly suicide...
bayonets fixed, all waiting for the whistle, standing side by side.
Then, the scramble from the trench... and walking forwards, steadily
into "No Mans' Land"... the tangled barbed wire... and Eternity.
Shoulder then, to shoulder; trudging on towards the German wire,
and, shoulder then, to shoulder; swift, mown down, by vicious, withering fire
from machine guns, well dug in, all along the parapet
of the German Front line trench... how could they run that lead gauntlet?
July, the first,1916... the bloody first day of the Somme.
The Accrington Pals, strength seven hundred; close, six hundred dead and gone.
 
So, too; the Leeds Pals, strength nine hundred... above three quarters cut to shreds,
repeated all along the Front... The Big Push... in which, it is said
The Flower of English youth was sacrificed that day, for an ideal;
innocence had died that day... traditional tactics proved unreal.
The cost?... the whistles shrilled at half-past seven on that sunny morn;
by 10 o'clock... the British losses... fifty-two thousand men were gone.
Most of those within the first hour, whole platoons of Pals cut down;
killed or wounded, out in No Man's Land... for a few yards of ground.
And, at the closing of the day, the Pals Battalions, all, were gone;
sixty thousand men were lost, that bloody First day on the Somme.
 
And, through the Northern towns and villages, the church bells tolled forlorn,
for days...
in Accrington and Barnsley, Bradford, Leeds... they all were gone.
Brothers, cousins, workmates, friends, in the same factories, pits, or mills, 
who often lived in the same street, had gone to the same school, and still
had courted the same sweethearts, or by marriage, were related too; 
the Pals, the Chums... so thickly then, their corpses, Flanders Fields, bestrew. 
Scarce a household left untouched... scarce a house, no curtains drawn;
smoky, cobbled streets all shrouded, silent... grief, so bravely borne.
All together, tied by bonds of local pride, they marched away,
all together, bonded now, in Death... in Flanders Field, they lay.
 
The Great War, called "The War to end all Wars"... the facile arrogance
of Politicians, who saw nothing of the carnage there, in France
and Belgium...
and, there have been many conflicts since, more bloody war,
have we not learned a thing, these years? 
Is it not time we cried, "No More?"
For if the Politicians had to fight... then, would there still be Wars?
Somehow, l don't think so... for them, the cure would be worse, than the cause.
lf you ever chance to visit Northern England, just seek out 
the Local War Memorial; count the family names... if you should doubt. 
See there, the Flower of a Generation squandered, out of hand...
sometimes, still... the echoes ripple through this green, and pleasant land.
 
Every family in the North was touched by that day, it is said, 
in some way or another... someone missing, someone maimed... or dead.
For every nine sent out in No Man's Land, five casualties went down,
and of those five, a third were killed... or nothing of them, ever found. 
A Husband, Son, or Brother; Cousin, Friend, or Lover, lost that day;
no-one imagined this, as they stood, cheering them upon their way,
back then, down the same cobbled streets; with curtains drawn now, silently;
all round the smoky, terraced houses, grief now hanging, heavily. 
A loss that almost robbed a Nation of its future... such a debt 
yet owed to those who still sleep, lost 
in Flanders Field. . .

Lest We Forget.

David Mace, 2008

I went to see the soldiers

I went to see the soldiers, row on row on row, 
And wondered about each so still, their badges all on show. 
What brought them here, what life before 
Was like for each of them? 
What made them angry, laugh, or cry, 

These soldiers, boys and men.
Some so young, some older still, a bond more close than brothers 
These men have earned and shared a love, that's not like any others 
They trained as one, they fought as one 
They shared their last together 
That bond endures, that love is true 
And will be, now and ever.
 
I could not know, how could I guess, what choices each had made, 
Of how they came to soldiering, what part each one had played? 
But here they are and here they'll stay, 
Each one silent and in place, 
Their headstones line up row on row 
They guard this hallowed place.

Kenny Martin 
© 2003 

New Generation Veterans

                         

We honour our old veterans, we honour them with pride
and read of all the horrors they have carried deep inside.
We know they served in Asia or New Guinea’s highland rains,
Vietnam or in Africa where many men were slain. 

We know that fateful landing on Gallipoli’s dark shore,
wherever Aussies fought, we know there are so many more,
but now a new young generation needs our help as well,
they too have been to war and suffer with their private hell.

Though losses are not classed as great, their fears are just the same
those electronic hidden bombs, still injure, kill or maim.
They fight against an enemy they find so hard to see
who mingle in the market place, then cause much tragedy.

 Insurgents in Afghanistan hide in the rough terrain
or roaming in Iraq, where, wearing robes they look the same.
The suicide stealth bombers, don’t care who they hurt or kill,
then, with their own beliefs, they try to break our forces will.

 Our fighting Aussie spirit shows on any foreign land,
they’re in the skies, they’re on the sea, or on the desert sand.
Now many are returning with the horrors they still see
and living with their nightmares, suffering bureaucracy.

 

I know on ANZAC day, we all remember with a tear,
but all vets young or old, they need our help throughout the year,
support and listen to their stories, when they do get told,
lets honour our new veterans, just like we do our old. 

David J Delaney

Australia
10 February 2010  ©

Last Post

Spats cover 
Polluted boots
With a Sam Browne strapped 
To a spit and polish belt 
Tightened by the sergeant
Holding him there
Completely trapped.

Deathly still
Helmand
Mourning loss
Hobnailed by the flagpole 
With a drooping ensign
In a two-minute silence
Like three hours on a cross.

Numb lips 
This November
And another year
As the guns die down 
In posthumous salute 
While the note splits
In the mouth of momentary fear.

 

The bugle fades 
Echoing round
As darkness descends 
On Greenwich Mean Time
Across Whitehall
And the sands of an Afghan desert
While Calvary shares the silence.

Crinkled leaves 
Float down 
On their parachute trip 
With legions of poppies 
Papered for today 
As a tear rolls down
To a stiff upper lip.

 

Teeth chatter 
Feet freeze
With winter ahead
On count-down to Reveille 
And the beginning of spring
While sheathed swords
Honour the glorious dead.

Paul du Plessis
2009.

Life and Soul of the Mess

Take some time every now and then 
Think back and say ‘I remember when’ 
You were as brothers you and they 
Sent by your country into the fray 
To a land of sun, dried dirt and dust 
Where dollars may rent loyalty, but you built trust 
Where from flowering death they eek out a living 
Or take what they can from whoever is giving 
You carried all you needed on aching back 
Tabbing mile on mile awaiting the crack 
As from a mile away a sniper takes you 
Or the land beneath erupts to break you

 
Now you’re at home and carrying on 
While others you knew they’re now gone 
Their laughter is missed but their faces you spy 
When asleep or briefly out the corner of an eye 
So growing older don’t let memories soften 
Drink to their names, let them cross your lips often 
For all the stone and the brass, it counts for ‘ought 
If we forget the names of those that fought.

John Bailey 
© Copyright May 2011
"Life and Soul of the Mess is a comment on how lost comrades are remembered and live on within their units long after they are gone, particularly whenever soldiers gather together in their bar or mess."  JB
 

Remembrance Sunday

On a cold November Sunday morn, an old man sits a while
Looking though old photographs, he can’t help but smile
They’re all there, all the boys, with hair cut short and neat
Uniforms of khaki, strong black boots upon their feet.
They met as strangers but soon became like brothers to the end
Smiling at the camera, there could be no truer friends.
They all took the Queen’s shilling, went off to fight the hun,
Soon learnt the pain of loss once the fighting had begun.


So many never made it home, lost on foreign shores
Many more were injured and would be the same no more.
The old man’s eyes mist with tears as he remembers every face
Each of his fallen brothers and the killing which took place.


He proudly dons his beret, his blazer and his tie
For today he will remember the ones who fell and died.
On his chest there is a poppy, a blaze of scarlet on the blue
He steps out into the cold, he has a duty he must do
Once at the cenotaph he stands amongst the ranks
Of those who marched to war and those who manned the tanks,
He bows his head in reverence, as the last post begins to play
And he wonders what will happen at the ending of his days.


Will anyone remember? Will anybody care?
About the lads so far from home whose life was ended there?
I wish that I could tell him, that he should fear not
For this soldier and his brothers will NEVER be forgot
We owe a debt of gratitude that we can never pay
And this country WILL remember them, on each Remembrance day.

Maria Cassee

11.11.11

That hour has come 
As has that day
The Sunday's awe

The dead are still dead
The fighting carries on
The dying, continue to die

Sacrifice
Brotherhood
Death

Till next year then
11.11.12
At 11.

James Love

He is gone

You can shed tears that she is gone 
Or you can smile because she has lived 

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back 
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

 

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her 
Or you can be full of the love that you shared 

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday 
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday 

You can remember her and only that she is gone 
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

 

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back 
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

 

David Harkins, 1981 

David Harkins 1959 -   Silloth, Cumbria, UK
 

Turkish Memorial to ANZAC troops,
situated on the Turkish coast at Gallipoli


Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.

Therefore rest in peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours.

You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.

After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk 

The Eternal Soldier

 

 I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me

 Fighting for your liberties down every century

 Standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause

 Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.

 I halted the Armada, stood my ground at Marston Moor

 I was in the line at Minden and I heard the Zulu roar,

 I was in the square at Waterloo and fought the fearless Boers

 And I was gassed in the trenches of the war to end all wars . . .

 I piloted a Spitfire, stormed the beach at Normandy

 Froze to death in Korea and I yomped to Port Stanley,

 I was bombed to hell in Basra, under fire in old Kabul

 I am a deadly Exocet (*), a politician’s tool. 

 Yet all I ask is wages and three square meals a day

 To lay my life upon the line, to live in harms way,

 But it’s the same old story, when your victory is won

 Then I’m just an embarrassment, with a loaded gun.

 And the debt is soon forgotten, when the nightmares come to call

 When each night I hear my best friend scream and helpless, watch him fall,

 I’m told to snap out of it, I’m told big boys don’t cry

 And I’m left to drink myself to death and on a cold street die.

 

 I march on your decision, anywhere in this wide world

 In places where our flag had no right to be unfurled,

 And I’m not asking for riches, I want nothing for free

 The only thing I’m asking for,

 Is a measure of dignity.

 For I am the eternal soldier; I’m there when you need me

 Fighting for your conscience down every century

 And I’m standing on the front-line, bleeding for your cause

 Just a name on a memorial, at which you never pause.

 

Mark Vine

2007

 

* Exocet - a missile used with devastating effect in the Falklands War

Eternal Soldier

 

 I am the Eternal Soldier

 Though my body breaks

 My soul goes on

 Through the jungles and the deserts

 Across the mountains and the seas

 Whither I am called I go

 Steadfast, reliable

 Though my mouth moans

 And my body aches

 I push on

 Until the objective is done

 The opposers disperse

 Or I am called elsewhere

 As one battle ends

 Another begins

 Always with myself

 The battle is the greatest

 While you break, I bend

 When you fall, I walk on

 Always expected to be courageous

 Always expected to be brave

 Always the first to charge

 While others stand behind me

 Like fearful children

 Hoping I will kill the big bad wolf

 I am the eternal soldier

 Our heart beats as one

 Though my body is many

 Brothers are we in blood and bone

 While around us separation

 Takes hold of the individual

 Hold my hand

 And I will guide you through

 For I am Michael, soldier of Angels

 My heart is true

 To the cause of my country

 That others may not suffer

 The horrors of the past

 Walk with me if you dare

 For mine is not a path lightly taken

 Brave heart, brave feet

 Brave voice, brave action

 These are our creed

 And our battle cry

 

 Ann-Marie Spittle © 2006

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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.