.

Today I feel the stirrings of the Dead
In crimson-littered fields where poppies blow.
I hear embittered groans and gasps of dread
From churning earth neath crosses row on row.
Today our freedoms fade along with sense
As blinded minds grow ripe to twist and turn.
Now glib and gutless fools sit on the fence
As history’s victories rot on tongues that spurn
The brave who threw a torch for us to hold
Above the grasp of tyranny’s harsh reign.
How dare we claim to honor all the bold
While giving up each battle’s bloody gain!

Today I hear our voiceless saviors weep
As graves and homes are robbed of peace and sleep.

.

.

Susan Jarvis Bryant is from Kent, England.  She is now an American citizen living on the coastal plains of Texas.  Susan has poetry published in the UK webzine, Lighten Up On Line, The Daily Mail, and Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets).


NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments.


CODEC News:

22 Responses

  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    This just about says it, Susan.
    And it’s certain that your words would be stricken from FB if you had posted them there. (“Untrue!”)

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Julian, you’re right – this certainly “just about says it” and I simply had to say it… I owe it to my grandparents. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Cynthia Erlandson

    Great, very un-trite, descriptions of the dead rolling over in their graves, Susan — and a brilliant explosion of Lt. Col. John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, thank you very much for your sharp, literary eye and the term “un-trite” – a huge compliment. That’s exactly what I was going for.

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Right on the money, Susan. It’s hard not to think that all those dead died in vain, when our freedoms are now being outlawed.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe S., you are so right! And as a granddaughter, great-niece, and child of all those who fought for my freedom, I owe the brave the debt of speaking out in an age of cancel-culture and erosion of liberties. In these wicked times, my poetic outcry seems barely enough.

      Reply
  4. Sally Cook

    So sad. Men who fought to save our freedoms now gone. And now the freedoms are going, one by one. Glad my father isn’t sad to see it.

    Reply
  5. Joe Tessitore

    This is wonderful, Susan.
    “How dare we claim to honor all the bold
    While giving up each battle’s bloody gain!” is a stark indictment of who and where we are.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Joe, thank you for your comment, but, most of all, thank you for the example you set in speaking out against the villainy afoot in today’s unjust and duplicitous world. I am sure those who fought for a fair future hear your appreciation every time you write a poem! Never stop!!

      Reply
  6. Brian Yapko

    Susan, this is a magnificent tribute to our veterans and I especially appreciate your reference to Remembrance Day. Your sonnet so skillfully invokes John McCrae’s beloved “Flanders Field” but pushes us into new, unfortunately hostile territory. My favorite of your memorable phrases is the three lines: “history’s victories rot on tongues that spurn/The brave who threw a torch for us to hold/Above the grasp of tyranny’s harsh reign.” My favorite because it just so accurately sums up the vile disrespect that so many leftists now assert against the very people who have made such huge sacrifices on their behalf. They deserve every ounce of vitriol that you throw at them. You certainly have my blood boiling. This is so well done!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, it pleases me to see that you and Cynthia have spotted exactly what I tried to do with that magnificent poem “In Flanders Fields”. I have often read Lt. Col. John McCrae’s moving rondeau, but these words of his have never affected me as greatly as they have of late:

      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.

      … a stark, poetic message to those bequeathed a bounty of benefits that are now being squandered with abandon. I simply had to take up that torch and get my poetic message across. As I said to Dr. Salemi above… it seems barely enough, though, in this day and age… I may have gone way too far. So be it!

      Thank you very much for your appreciation and inspiration!

      Reply
  7. Peter Hartley

    Susan – brilliant as always and full of your trademark clever and unexpected word associations. And, like Brian, you have my blood boiling too, and wondering why my father fought at Monte Cassino and my grandfather lied about his age to fight at Gallipoli in 1915. Would they have thought the U.K. was a country worth fighting for today?

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Peter, it’s always lovely to hear from you, even when your blood is boiling… and well it should. I know exactly how you feel about your father and your grandfather (a young, naive lad heading for a brutal battle). Your question is both poignant and pertinent and the fact we should be asking it galls me to my core. I promise you, I wanted to write something less stark… but, I simply couldn’t… I had to be me. Thank you very much for your thought-provoking comment.

      Reply
  8. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, in these days when members of our government are on their tiptoes to keep their heads above the cesspit of greed, your wonderful poem doesn’t just hit the nail on the head, it picks up a lump hammer and drives the nail straight through the wall. We must never forget the debt we owe to those countless young men. A wonderful and most powerful piece.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, you have driven a nail straight through the wall with your bold and honest comment – that “cesspit of greed” has one helluva lot to answer for. Boris and Biden suck! Pardon my Texan mouth… it’s grown a lot bigger than my British one. LOL Jeff, thank you!

      Reply
  9. Margaret Coats

    Not only graves, but homes, where our current brave men and women willing to carry the torch, and their families, are scorned and ignored. Thanks for the biting focus, Susan.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, you make an excellent point – there are many willing to carry that torch and they are scorned and ignored. Once again, I owe thanks to the SCP for giving me a platform to vent poetically, politically and passionately… and bold, torch-bearing poets like you who appreciate my voice. Thank you!

      Reply
  10. Satyananda Sarangi

    Hello Susan ma’am,

    Reading you after quite some time. This poem is evocative and poignant – it affected me to such an extent that I felt I must’ve been a soldier in some previous birth. I think that’s what top-notch poetry does – it transports one to a far-off land.
    Thanks for writing this.

    Regards

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Satyananda, it’s lovely to hear from you and thank you for your wonderful comment.

      Reply
  11. David Watt

    Susan, your poem does hits the nail squarely on the head. Those who fought for freedom would be horrified at our sheep-like willingness to see it taken away.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      David, thank you very much for this. This poem was a hard one to write this year for reasons obvious to many. The sad thing is, we are so divided that the notion of standing in solidarity has been swept into history’s abyss. Love and loyalty (the very traits that won us our liberty) are almost lost… and, yes, I am to blame. I wish I’d seen it coming sooner, and spoken out earlier.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Jeff Eardley Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.