Opposite my bedroom there is a window and there is a light over the top. Now when the staff go into that room they put the light on. If I was half asleep the light coming on was the flash of a bomb. That flash brought it all back. For eighty years I've never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I've been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it's been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn't news. Forget it.

– Harry Patch

My rambling )

Perhaps some day the sun will shine again,
And I shall see that still the skies are blue,
And feel once more I do not live in vain,
Although I feel bereft of You.

Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet
Will make the sunny hours of Spring seem gay
And I shall find the white May blossoms sweet,
Though You have passed away.

Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,
And crimson roses once again be fair,
And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,
Although You are not there.

Perhaps some day I shall not shrink in pain
To see the passing of the dying year,
And listen to the Christmas songs again
Although You cannot hear.

But, though kind Time may many joys renew,
There is one greatest joy I shall not know
Again, because my heart for loss of You
Was broken, long ago.


Beach Burial

Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs
The convoys of dead sailors come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.

Between the sob and clubbing of gunfire
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows
And tread the sand upon their nakedness;

And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin -

"Unknown seaman" - the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men's lips,

Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as ememies they fought,
Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together,
Enlisted on the other front.

— Kenneth Slessor

A box of poppies appeared at work yesterday. Exactly a month too early. The security guard is already wearing one.

Come on, people! This is just silly. It's called Remembrance Day, not month. It's political correctness gone MAD.

However, this does have the plus side of reminding me about white poppies, which I might actually attempt to get hold of this year. (Last year I gave up and wore nowt.) Anybody getting a load in, or shall I order them myself?

Base Details

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour.
'Poor young chap,' I'd say–'
I used to know his father well;
Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap.'
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die – in bed.

Siegfried Sassoon

I've noticed that this year celebrities and politicians are wearing the poppies more and earlier than ever, and the public less. This is somewhat sad. Maybe the poppy has become too politicised. But when it comes down to it, perhaps it would help to remember that a poppy is merely a poppy. It's the people that we should be remembering on this day.

I missed the 2 minutes' silence this morning. Perhaps I shall do so now.

spudtater: (Default)
( Nov. 11th, 2006 04:07 pm)


Move him into the sun-
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds-
Woke once the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
-O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

— Wilfred Owen

More poems here: War Poems & Manuscripts of Wilfred Owen


Can't remember if I posted this on LJ some time ago or not:

Epilogue to 'Death of a Hero' )

So have another one as well. (And forgive me my copyright infringements on both of these.)

Landscape: Western Desert )
spudtater: (Default)
( Nov. 9th, 2005 01:59 am)

US military may have used incendiary weapons on Iraqi civilians, including white phosphorus. Sources:

slightly long )


spudtater: (Default)


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