Remember, Remember…

by Susan Jarvis Bryant

No thankful foot falls on the London street
In honour of our brave and voiceless dead.
Remembrance Sunday’s rendered incomplete
Without the steadfast march and sombre tread
Of those who know the bullet-ridden cost
Borne in blood and bone in barbarous wars
For liberty our land has almost lost
To despots who have barred the people’s doors.
They plot in history’s halls—the very walls
That Guy Fawkes failed to fell with fury’s flame.
The muzzled Queen observes their protocols
With poppies at the tomb that bears no name.

We’ll not forgive such brazen treachery.
We’ll not forget the souls who set us free.

 

 

Remembrance Day

by Damian Robin

We fight in many ways, some stay at home, apart,
And wear no uniform except soft flesh.
Some train, stand ready, are not called. They have their part.
We have a single mind—keep freedom fresh.

Some marshal paperwork, sort buildings, gear, and stocks,
Supply from distance, metal parts and food.
Some of us fight with just debate and ballot box,
Risk argument turned treacherous and crude.

But those who stood in bullets’ way, in sleepless trench,
Or armoured strategies hard blown apart,
May see their names carved, deep and clear, on garden bench,
Or marble wall, or loved one’s solid heart.

Yet all of us must play our standing, righteous parts.
For fragile Liberty has need of our true hearts.

 

 


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14 Responses

    • Julian D. Woodruff

      Both fine and noble–and needed–efforts.
      In the US of the present, it would be a luxury to be able to point to a single betrayer.
      Just debate and the vote are very much needed, but also the sacrifice to see that they are available to us.
      I like those hexametric lines. They seem to lend stateliness to your poem, Mr. Robin. There’s masterly variety in the way these lines are divided.
      (One small point: an apostrophe should follow “bullets.”)

      Reply
      • Damian Robin

        Thank you for your appreciation, Julian. And your comments on the situation in America.

        Yes, I noticed the missed apostrophe after “bullets” after I had sent the poem to Evan, a few hours ago. He is astute in his watching of this site so maybe he will clip one in. I will contact him anyhow.

      • Damian Robin

        The apostrophe has been added (by Mike Bryant, I believe).

        FYI here is the song that prompted my poem:

  1. Jeff Eardley

    Over a weekend when most minds were focused elsewhere, it was comforting to read these two most powerful poems. Thank you Damian and thank you Susan. On Friday, I received an Email to say that a locally known gentleman, Jim Radford, had been taken with COVID at the age of 92. He was, at fifteen, the youngest combatant on D-day. In recent years, he became a folk singer and composer. You will find him singing his own song, “The shores of Normandy” to the Irish melody, Raglan Road, in the Albert Hall, on YouTube. If anything has choked me up this last weekend it is this. Thank you both again.

    Reply
    • Damian Robin

      Thanks Jeff. it is a shame that so many veterans of WWII and survivors of the Holocaust are no longer around to validate the experience.

      My father died this year. COVID-19 was on his death certificate with some other ailments. I’m sure we’ll never know how many old people actually died from the virus alone.

      The Jim Radford vid is a fine thing. Such poise in his bearing and singing, and detail in in his lyrics.

      Reply
      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        Damian, it is a shame that veterans of WWII and survivors of the Holocaust are no longer around to validate the experience. I was lucky enough to have my grandfather (who fought in WWII) until I was 42 years of age – enough time to know the price and the value of freedom… and I will NEVER forget.

        My heart goes out to you for the loss of your father.

    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, I too have just watched Jim Radford, “The shores of Normandy”, on YouTube. How heart-touchingly apt with a harrowing rendition of history we should never forget. The price our soldiers paid for freedom is one we should never lose sight of. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. James A. Tweedie

    Susan and Damian,

    Our American national tomb in Arlington bears the simple words, “Known but to God.” The ANZAC memorial bears the words first penned by Kipling, “Lest we forget.”

    Thank you for remembering.

    And, expressed with such lyric beauty, thank you for helping us to remember, as well.

    Reply
  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    A big THANK YOU to all of you for your lovely comments. Damian, I love your poem and it’s an absolute pleasure to share this page with you. I’m glad to jog all the memories out there in the name of freedom! Long may it be with us.

    Reply
    • Damian Robin

      Beautifully said, Susan. And completely endorsed (with your name for mine).

      Thanks all for the fine comments.

      Carry on, protect our heritages, and prosper!

      Reply
  4. Cynthia Erlandson

    Very poignant, Susan, especially “For liberty our land has almost lost / To despots…” Remembrance is crucial, and it is dreadful that, as you say, meaningful ceremonies have been halted.
    Thank you, Damian — your point is well taken that we all play our part, and must honor those who do the most difficult jobs.

    Reply
    • Damian Robin

      Thanks Cynthia! We all need to play our part and support the front-liners (who in these times, at any moment, may be ourselves.)

      Reply

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