At the going down of the sun we shall remember them

One of my earliest recollections of growing up in Liverpool, is of a relative (I called him big granddad or Captain Jim), who had fought and been wounded in World War I. I remember him tapping with the walking stick, which he invariably used, on the fish tank which sat in a corner of my grandfather’s (on my Mother’s side) living room. In later life I learned that he had been (and remained until his death) a member of the Labour Party and that meetings of the local organisation had taken place in his home.

I have no memory of ever having talked with this kind gentleman regarding how he came to walk with a stick but, later in life I learned that he had been wounded in the trenches. I have no idea of what this man had been through (its difficult at this distance in time to comprehend the horror of trench warfare other than by reading the accounts of eye witnesses, the recordings of those who fought in the “Great War” and, of course the poetry of the war poets such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke). In retrospect I wish that I had spoken with Captain Jim about his experiences. However I was a small boy so did not do so. Even had I raised the subject, its perfectly possible that he may not have wished to engage with me (or anyone else) on it.

Back in November 2016 I wrote the below poem “Poppy” which is reproduced below:

To those who died that you and me
Might live free.
To those who gave their sweet breath for King and Countrie.
I regret that yesterday
I had no cash to pay
For a poppy deep red
To remember the dead.

I will not know the stench
Of trench
Nor the wrench
Of fear
And pain as spear
Drains the life away.

What can the poet say
Who has never known
The touch of steel against bone?
We die alone
But most will peaceful go
And will not know
The whoa
Of comrades lost,
Nor count the cost
Of bloody strife.
They will not give their life
That others (you and me)
May live free.

Having only my debit card I regret to say
That I could not buy
A blood red
Poppy to remember the dead
As I wended my way
To my nine to five job yesterday”.

 

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2 thoughts on “At the going down of the sun we shall remember them

  1. ellem63

    Regarding the last stanza of your poem … it’s a horrible feeling. I was at a bonfire display with my daughter and there were people with buckets, collecting money for Cancer Research. I had no change and by the time I’d got change, after the display had ended, they had gone. 😦

    Reply
    1. drewdog2060drewdog2060 Post author

      Many thanks for your comment. We are all so reliant on debit and credit cards so I guess charities will have to start accepting street donations etc with them (a few already are I understand). But, as you say its not a nice feeling when you are unable to donate. All the best – Kevin

      Reply

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