Remembrance Sunday

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Lou
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Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:47 am

The white maroons that make the seagulls scatter,
should stir a conscience with their smoke array.
Not mine, for me this Sunday doesn’t matter,
today the same as any other day.

For not one week goes by when I don’t think
of men who died on filthy strips of land,
who lived like rats in holes, the fear, the stink
of gas, the shells, the cold; a comrade’s hand
left on the wire, to wave and wave again . . .

This Sunday we thank God the war went well
at Ypres, Loos, Arras and Neuve Chapelle.
One day a year we see that blood and phlegm,
those pigs who loved their rank more than their men.
And I don’t need this day to think of them.
Last edited by Lou on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Macavity
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Macavity » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:06 pm

a comrade’s hand
left on the wire, to wave and wave again
A startling image Lou.
today the same as any another day
I did trip up in the reading there, but I guess that was to bring emphasis rather than using the more familiar other.

best

mac

ray miller
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by ray miller » Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:09 pm

Nice poem. As mac said, the waving hand is very striking. Loud maroons is a bit tautological, perhaps?
today the same as any another day. - I've assumed that's a typo, but anyway, a suggestion

any more than any other day
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Lou
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:26 pm

Thanks Mac,

'Another' was a typo - it should be 'other'.

Best,
Lou


Thanks Ray,

You're quite right, loud is no good - I've substituted white as being the colour of the maroon.

Best,
Lou

Grace
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Grace » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:14 pm

Hi Lou,

This poem was very moving and technically excellent, imo.

We need more like it. Thank you!

Grace

Antcliff
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Antcliff » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:28 pm

Greetings

As has been said, Lou, the wave is striking, the highlight (albeit grim). Good stuff. (And in fact of family relevance since my great-grandfather was injured in the arm in 1916.) Liked the theme as well.

Radical suggestion though. The wave is striking and how about ending with it? The content of the third stanza is a list of battles, affirms a stance already made clear and otherwise seems rather generic? I think it would be a better poem for stopping at the second stanza. No? I'll get my coat then.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Lou
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:34 am

Thanks ,Grace!

Best,
Lou

Thanks Seth,

I think you see the hand waving as the climax of the poem whereas I see it as just a piece of local colouring. The N's scorn for the WW1 senior officers - Donkeys leading Lions - for me is the proper end to the sonnet.

Best,
Lou

cynwulf
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by cynwulf » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:00 am

Excellent poem, just the right emotional tone and register for the subject. It spoke directly to me as my grandfather was badly wounded at the 3rd Battle of Ypres serving with the N Staffs Regiment. Appreciated the irony of ll1-2 in the last verse, the waving hand is told powerfully here.
Regards, c.

Lou
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:39 am

Thanks c,

Fascinating to hear of your grandfather serving with the N Staffs and being wounded at the 3rd battle of Ypres. My granddad was an ambulance driver on the western front - how awful if must have been to live in the trenches in WW1.

Best,
Lou

ton321
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by ton321 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:47 pm

The white maroons that make the seagulls scatter,
should stir a conscience with their smoke array.
Not mine, for me this Sunday doesn’t matter,
today the same as any other day.

For not one week goes by when I don’t think
of men who died on filthy strips of land,
who lived like rats in holes, the fear, the stink
of gas, the shells, the cold; a comrade’s hand ... i like the way you lead us towards the the false comfort of a dead mans hand.
left on the wire, to wave and wave again . . .

This Sunday we thank God the war went well
at Ypres, Loos, Arras and Neuve Chapelle.
One day a year we see that blood and phlegm,
those pigs who loved their rank more than their men.
And I don’t need this day to think of them.

Hi Lou,
I liked this a lot, especially lines 4 and 5. Could you use another word apart from pigs in line 9. By trying not to think about these "pigs", we in fact are doing so, if you see what i mean. Really liked it though,
Tony
Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

Robert Graves

Lou
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:48 pm

Thanks Tony,

Yes, I don't like pigs either, but it's finding a one syllable word for the officer class. I should say senior officer class, 2nd lieutenants were mowed down with their men.

Best,
Lou

k-j
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by k-j » Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:31 am

Good poem. Just a few suggestions:

- love the first two lines
- comma after "mine" isn't right. Should be colon, semi or full stop to your taste.
- agree with Ray's suggestion for line 4
- "filthy strips of land" - "strips" sounds a little odd. Perhaps it refers to trenches, but if so then oddly I think. You can keep "filthy" and "land" but I'd rejig the line.
- "rats in holes" is a bit of a cliché
- love the list and punctuation in lines 7-9
- hand image is great
- love the way the rhythm makes us read Ypres etc in the Tommy way
- brutal irony in "the war went well", excellent
- not keen on "pigs". There were bad officers and bad men; the former undoubtedly caused more carnage, but these closing lines bring a moral absolutism to the poem, a "them and us" tone, which seems at odds with the rest.
fine words butter no parsnips

Lou
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Re: Remembrance Sunday

Post by Lou » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:40 am

Thanks k-j,

Dunno about a full stop after 'mine' L.3 - I'd go with a semi-colon.
The 'filthy strips of land' refer to the gains and losses made in battle. It's been said that for every British soldier who died on the Somme, an inch of land was gained.
'Rats in holes' is familiar certainly, but I wouldn't say it was a cliche, not, for instance, like 'rats in a trap'.
No, I don't like 'pigs'.
I think, unlike WWII, a 'necessary' war, my N. mourns the unnecessary loss of life caused by the decision making of the General Staff, not bringing on tank development faster, for instance. There were poor decisions made in WWII by the allies, but they didn't result in the needless loss of so many men as in WWI.

Best,
Lou

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