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A truly moving poem for Remembrance Day


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud…
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home-
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce- No- Decorum- No- Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too-
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert-
and light a cigarette.
There’s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.

Carol Ann Duffy

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If only . . .

11 Nov, 2011


Yes Sheila, if only....... thank you for printing this.

11 Nov, 2011


Have to agree with you, if only..

11 Nov, 2011


In the words of a song that's also poetic
"When will we ever learn" ??? I think its Where Have All The Flowers Gone.

11 Nov, 2011


It is always "REMEMBER " by, Christina Rossetti that I think of. I am predictable but, it is so moving.

11 Nov, 2011


Every year I wonder why we just can't learn the lesson......:( Thanks Sheila.

11 Nov, 2011


Ah, Sheila, a very moving poem and it reminds us how the pain of remembrance on remembrance day never fades...

11 Nov, 2011


I have just been talking to Mum about my paternal Grandfather and his time out in El Alamein ... how that man lived to be 100 is a miracle after the tough years he spent in the Army during the war ... :o(

11 Nov, 2011


Thanks Sheila...

11 Nov, 2011


Funny that ShirleyT, our neighbour across the road, died a month of so ago at 91. He was also at El Alamein.

11 Nov, 2011


A 'strange but true' comment, Tet ... Grandad rarely spoke of his time out in the desert ... he always regaled us with the tale of his coming home to the farm, standing in a corner of the field where 'his' horse grazed, whistling and seeing the horse come galloping over as though Grandad had been away for a week ... not the 3 years it actually had been.. :o)

11 Nov, 2011


What a lovely memory to have! He wouldve hated WWI where so many horses died..I keep thinking about reading Warhorse..but not sure I want to spend the next few weeks bawling my eyes out.

11 Nov, 2011


Did you see the play, Tet? Incredible . . . not a dry eye in the house.

11 Nov, 2011


I saw the play............absolutely wonderful and yes I cried.

11 Nov, 2011


No I havent. Im still horse mad, have been since a kid, but dont ride anymore. I think it would break my heart to watch or read it..and probly have nightmares about it all.

12 Nov, 2011


Thank you all so much for reading this and commenting - and Shirley - what a lovely story about your Grandad being greeted by 'his' horse. No wonder he'd rather tell you that story than what is was to fight in the war.

12 Nov, 2011


Indeed, Sheilabub, he had such a hard life, trudging across fields for 3 miles to school, working on the farm after lessons, eating very basic food ... I could write a story of his life ... very proud to have been his Grandaughter ... :o)))

12 Nov, 2011

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