Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thoughts on Armistice Day - Lest We Forget

... and on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent on the Western Front.

How ironic that the "peace treaty" that followed the "War to End All Wars" was a major factor in bringing about WWII and much of the misery that haunts us to this day? Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the world had learned something from the process and especially how the "victorious powers" should behave after a war?

Human memory is terribly short-sighted.

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.

– Lt.-Col. John McCrae -

We won't let the "Lost Generation" be forgotten.
For all the right reasons.

There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

-- Sara Teasdale --

O Menino da Sua Mãe

No plaino abandonado
Que a morna brisa aquece,
De balas trespassado-
Duas, de lado a lado-,
Jaz morto, e arrefece.

Raia-lhe a farda o sangue.
De braços estendidos,
Alvo, louro, exangue,
Fita com olhar langue
E cego os céus perdidos.

Tão jovem! Que jovem era!
(agora que idade tem?)
Filho unico, a mãe lhe dera
Um nome e o mantivera:
«O menino de sua mãe.»

Caiu-lhe da algibeira
A cigarreira breve.
Dera-lhe a mãe. Está inteira
E boa a cigarreira.
Ele é que já não serve.

De outra algibeira, alada
Ponta a roçar o solo,
A brancura embainhada
De um lenço… deu-lho a criada
Velha que o trouxe ao colo.

Lá longe, em casa, há a prece:
“Que volte cedo, e bem!”
(Malhas que o Império tece!)
Jaz morto e apodrece
O menino da sua mãe

-- Fernando Pessoa --


Shenley Monument to the WWI Dead


João said...

beautiful post, CJ...
check this :


Peter said...

Wonderful post!!!

The importance of making a good peace, not a revenge peace! Will we ever learn? Where have all the flowers gone? Fortunately they are back, hopefully for ever!

Next year will be a special 11 day!

Trulyfool said...


By chance I was listening to poetry lectures dealing with the Great War poets. Synchronicity.

The more one reads about war, the less sense any of it makes.

Clearly, as 'animal', mankind is very aggressive.

But as 'living organism', mankind seeks survival first.

Perhaps we may convince ourselves that survival requires containing the aggression.

May I consider that an optimistic suggestion all based on a 'biological logic'?


Karen at Pas Grand-Chose said...

This point was made in a news broadcast of armistice day events, when they said that while the veterans of the world wars get ever older, the victims of more recent wars are ever younger.
Your photographic images are very poignant, and thanks for the introduction to two poems I didn't know - by Teasdale and Pessoa.

rauf said...

This world should not be run by men Claudia. It is against nature.