Monday, 13 November 2017

Poetry Monday: Remembering

We are two days past the official date, but we at Poetry Monday could not let Remembrance Day get too far out of sight without proper recognition.

Don't forget to check out the offerings of Diane (On the Alberta/Montana Border), Delores (Mumblings), and Joan (in the comments on this blog). You can comment, critique, or leave your own poem at any of our blogs, or on your own blog (just make sure we know you've done so and we'll come along and read/encourage). Feel free to choose a different topic if you wish.

First, the background to Remembrance Day, which is familiar territory for many of you. In Canada, as in so many countries around the world, this day is observed on November 11 each year. This is the date on which the armistice which ended World War I was signed in 1918.  In Canada, it is meant as a day to remember the men and women who have served and who continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. This includes the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Armed Forces have taken part.

Many Canadian families have lost dear ones, especially in the two world wars. While I had some relatives serving, none were lost. I have not suffered the deprivations of war; I have not ever been fearful for myself or anyone I am close to. So my only knowledge of war comes through reading, and I am often drawn to books about wartime. I marvel at the heroic and selfless behavior of not only the armed forces of land, sea, and air, but also of nurses and other medical personnel, of spys, of civilians caught in bombing raids in cities or displaced from the countryside during active engagement, of prisoners of war, of victims of concentration camps. I find myself wondering how I would behave under any of those circumstances.

War and its tentacles have caused enormous loss of life, not just in the military, but in general, and that deserves to be remembered at all times. Remembrance Day is set aside specifically to recognize those who put themselves on the front line, those who gave or are willing to give their own lives so that others may have a chance of peace, of freedom, of life itself. Where would our world be today without the members of the military who turned the tide in each of the world wars? That example alone is a very bleak thought. Those who serve today follow in the footsteps of soldiers before them, willing to risk everything to do the job they signed up for.

Back to the purpose of Poetry Monday. It's difficult to compete with the eloquence of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields." It's hard to find something original to say. But it is not hard at all to feel gratitude and to write simply and from my heart.

We Remember

At the eleventh hour
Of the eleventh day
Of the eleventh month,
We remember.

In tiny towns,
In large cities,
In each of our hearts,
We remember.

Our army,
Our navy,
Our airforce . . .
We remember.

The very old, with heads and backs bent by time;
The middle-aged and the young, tall and strong, in active duty today;
And those whose ages are frozen in time forever--
We remember.

May we understand and honour their sacrifices.
May we be thankful for their lives.
May we try harder to love our fellow beings.
May we always remember.

courtesy of Pixabay


Thanks for reading, my friends. See you on Friday. 


  1. My father insisted that there are no winners in war. And as I age, I see his point.
    Remembrance Day is celebrated here too, and remember I did.

    1. I hope evil was defeated, at least a specific evil, a time or two - but I think it's correct to say that no one wins. And evil in some form or another seems to keep popping back up.

    2. So true, Elephant’s Child. Your Father was right.

  2. Dear friend Jenny hope you are feeling fine and your backache is hopefully gone mostly !

    I loved your poetry about the remembrance day you have in Canada on 11th of November!

    Both wars caused unforgettable pain and misery to this world and specially to those families who lost their loved ones.
    how sad and how bad that politicians do not send their own kids to fight to save their false purposes .
    Some sick mind hold and move strings of the people by the threads of emotions and play with their lives in way they want to.

    World has globalised and patriotism must be the feeling attached to this whole earth as home to all of us ,to save humanity and to save this home we must love and respect each other's needs and emotions instead of fighting like animals ,because this is the only way that we can survive

    1. Yes! So well said, baili. The earth is home to us all. And yes, those who send soldiers to their fate often die of old age themselves ...

  3. You wrote that so beautifully, Jenny.

    I won't be partaking this week, but I will recite something that the Revd. G. Studdert-Kennedy wrote. He was also known as Woodbine Willie because he handed out cigarettes to the injured and wounded when they came back during WW1.


    Waste of muscle, waste of brain,
    Waste of patience, waste of pain,
    Waste of manhood, waste of health,
    Waste of beauty, waste of wealth,
    Waste of blood, and waste of tears,
    Waste of youth's most precious years,
    Waste of ways the saints have trod,
    Waste of glory, waste of God, - War!

    Joan (Devon)

    1. So true! I'm glad you passed this poem along; it is new to me but so well put.

    2. Echoing jenny_o. New to me, and very, very true.

  4. It is such a sacred day to those who have served and those who have suffered loss. May we all remember,

  5. Thank you Jenny-o. It is so important to remember.

    1. What we don't recall we are doomed to repeat. We may repeat it anyway, but perhaps not so soon.

  6. Such a beautiful remembrance, Jenny.

    May we find our way to peace.

  7. Well said. In Canada we were safe from any action. My wife grew up in England so her experience is much different than ours. My son was in the Canadian reserve for seven years.

    1. Yes, England and several other European countries were in the thick of it. I think they have a better understanding of the consequences because of that. Kudos to your son, Red.

  8. You have seen my remembrance poem already Jenny but I would like to share it with other visitors to Procrastinating Donkey...

    Uncle Jack

    He heard the call and went...
    He should have been teaching art
    In some dull provincial school,
    Doling out praise with the paint,
    Watching copper beeches
    Turn golden
    Through the years.
    He should have been.
    But he was in the sky
    With an eagle on his chest
    Wrestling with
    A stubborn radio,
    In the belly of a Blenheim
    Before it took the plunge
    Through night clouds
    Over Essex,
    Fatally hurtling into
    An old copper beech tree.
    When he
    Was only twenty three
    At Ramsey Tyrells Farm.
    He heard the call and went...

    1. I was hoping you'd share this, YP. A very personal take on the topic indeed.

    2. A tragedy repeated in too many families. Vale all the Uncle (and Auntie) Jacks.

  9. Replies
    1. Not very original but from the heart. Thanks, Janie. I hope you're feeling better today, by the way.

  10. Armistice Day, by Paul Simon:

    On Armistice Day
    The Philharmonic will play
    But the songs that we sing
    Will be sad
    Shufflin’ brown tunes
    Hanging around

    No long-drawn, blown out excuses
    Were made
    When I needed a friend, she was there
    Just like an easy chair

    Armistice Day
    Armistice Day
    That’s all I really wanted to say

    Oh, I’m weary from waiting
    In Washington, D.C.
    I’m coming to see my congressman
    But he’s avoiding me
    Weary from waiting down in Washington, D.C.

    Oh, Congresswoman
    Won’t you tell that congressman
    I’ve waited such a long time
    I’ve about waited all I can
    Oh, Congresswoman
    Won’t you tell that congressman

    I think I was eleven when this came out and my sister bought the album. I played it relentlessly, and later tried to learn the guitar parts. Paul Simon is mostly known as a songwriter and singer, but he can play the hell out of a guitar also.

    -Doug in Oakland

    1. An all around great musician, for sure. I need to listen to some of his old stuff again soon.

    2. Love me some Paul Simon:-)

  11. Well said - thank you. We will remember.

    1. I'm glad we have a day just for this, as otherwise we might begin to forget.

  12. Wow, this is so beautiful! And powerful. I got all choked up reading it...! Like many people I know, I grew up safe and sound, and have never experienced war first hand. But my parents and almost every adult I knew as a kid came here from Europe in the late 50s, and not only did they experience Word War II, most of them also experienced civil wars after that. And some of the stories they share are shocking!

    1. They must have some very difficult memories ... those of us who haven't gone through it can never really know what it was like, eh?

  13. Have goosebumps from your poem, Jenny. Beautiful. Also love the photo you chose.


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