Poetry and Remembrance Why do we still need to remember events from so long ago? Poetry and Remembrance John McCrae Wilfred Owen Issac Rosenburg Rupert Brooke Siegfried Sassoon
Poetry and Remembrance Many soldiers volunteered to serve in the First World War. However, in 1916 the government introduced something called conscription, which meant that men aged between 18 and 41 could be called up to fight, unless their job was thought to be vital to the war effort.
Poetry and Remembrance The First World War affected lots of people. Some of the soldiers who fought wrote about their experiences. Their poems helped the public in Britain to understand what the
experience of fighting in the trenches was like. Poetry and Remembrance There are very famous war poets such Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Issac Rosenberg, and the Canadian, John McCrae, who wrote In Flanders Fields. There are also several Scottish poets whose war is not as well known. These include Ewart Alan Mackintosh, William Soutar, W. D. Cocker, and Robert Service. Service was born in England but
attended Hillhead School in Glasgow. The Legless Man (The Dark Side) The Legless Man (The Dark Side) by Robert Service. My mind goes back to Fumin Wood, and how we stuck it out, Eight days of hunger, thirst and cold, mowed down by steel and flame; Waist-deep in mud and mad with woe, with dead men all about, We fought like fiends and waited for relief that never came. Eight days and nights they rolled on us in battle-frenzied mass! "Debout les morts!" We hurled them back. By God! they did not pass. They pinned two medals on my chest, a yellow and a brown,
And lovely ladies made me blush, such pretty words they said. I felt a cheerful man, almost, until my eyes went down, And there I saw the blankets - how they sagged upon my bed. And then again I drank the cup of sorrow to the dregs: The Legless Man (The Dark Side) I think of how I used to run and leap and kick the ball, And ride and dance and climb the hills and frolic in the sea; And all the thousand things that now I'll never do at all.... Mon Dieu! there's nothing left in life, it often seems to me. And as the nurses lift me up and strap me in my chair, If they would chloroform me off, by God I wouldn't care. Ah yes! we're "heroes all" to-day - they point to us with pride;
To-day their hearts go out to us, the tears are in their eyes! But wait a bit; to-morrow they will blindly look aside; No more they'll talk of what they owe, the dues of sacrifice (One hates to be reminded of an everlasting debt). It's all in human nature. Ah! the world will soon forget. My mind goes back to where I lay wound-rotted on the plain, And ate the muddy mangold roots, and drank the drops of dew, And dragged myself for miles and miles when every move was pain, And over me the carrion-crows were retching as they flew. Oh, ere I closed my eyes and stuck my rifle in the air I wish that those who picked me up had passed and left
Poetry and Remembrance Its not just the First World War which inspired poets. There are modern day poets who write about more current conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. Unarmed Response, Dilys Rose They bring in our wounded flown from Baghdad to A & E at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh.
Daffodils stand to attention on Middle Meadow Walk. The hunt for Saddam hots up and the media bombards us with wall-to-wall war news. The warm spring sun feels undeserved and out of place as lives in limbo blur by on stretchers. Dilys Rose Unarmed Response, Dilys Rose In the glass-walled waiting room where half the chairs are broken and nobody's mopped the floor for days
a homeless boozer sips his tea, grumbles to the vending machine. A teenage mother snaps at her kid thrashing about in his buggy, cracking his head against the frame. Behind curtains in Immediate Care my loved one lies, not fighting, not even arguing, barely breathing. The scrawl of his heartbeat crawls across a bleeping screen. Why we remember In The Legless Man, Robert Service says, Ah the world will soon forget.
This the reason why every year, we buy and wear a poppy, so we dont forget the sacrifices made by those who served and continue to serve in our Armed Forces.
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