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Remembrance Sunday
At the Going Down of the Sun, and in the Morning, We Will Remember Them

Poems for the Fallen

The War Poets   |   The War Poems   |   Poems, Odes, Songs, Tributes   |   Hymns   |     May We Never Forget   |   Never Forgotten

To the Female Suffering From A Severe Case of 'White Privilege' and Self-Hatred   |   Lost Causes   |   Poor Fools...   |   In Flanders Fields
 


 

The Great War 1914~1918: Articles and Videos   |   The Great War 1914~1918: Quotes and Comments

The Second World War: Articles and Videos   |   The Second World War: Quotes and Comments

Books and Websites   |   The Poppy   |   Revisionism   |   Remembrance Sunday: Home


The Last Post

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
(John 15:13)

 

 

The War Poets

War Poets

"A war poet is a poet who participates in a war and writes about his experiences, or a non-combatant who writes poems about war. While the term is applied especially to those who served during World War I, the term can be applied to a poet of any nationality writing about any war ... In World War I, for the first time, a substantial number of important British poets were soldiers, writing about their experiences of war. A number of them died on the battlefield ... [others] survived but were scarred by their experiences, and this was reflected in their poetry ... Many poems by British war poets were published in newspapers and then collected in anthologies. Several of these anthologies were published during the war and were very popular, though the tone of the poetry changed as the war progressed..."

Why the War Poets Matter

"The strength of the war poets ... is not that they are all that representative of the opinions of the time. It would be foolish to think that poetry ought to be representative. Their strength really comes from the way that they reworked the words and thoughts of the time and rose above the immediacy of war fervour. They were blessed, if that is not too grotesque a word, with a deeply poetic and literary moment, where words rose up to lead men on to extraordinary deeds..."

 

The Muse in Arms

"The Muse in Arms is an anthology of British war poetry published in November 1917 during World War I. It consists of 131 poems by 52 contributors, with the poems divided into fourteen thematic sections. The poets were all from three branches of the armed services, land, sea, and air, from a range of ranks (though mostly officers) and from many parts of the UK. Twenty of the poets who contributed to this volume died during the war..."

Remember Them More Honestly  (November 2019)

"This year sees the centenary of the Versailles peace conference and the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of the second war. Surely both are now so long ago that we are more free to think about them. What would that freedom mean? Perhaps the best way to explain it is through the poetry which is such a part of remembrance of war in this country. It should mean a little less Laurence Binyon and a little less Cecil Spring-Rice, for a start. And no Rupert Brooke at all and a bit more A.E. Houseman and a bit more Siegfried Sassoon too. And a little more of the hard truth ... Edward Thomas's unbearable In Memorium, Easter 1915 which begins so innocently with 'The flowers left thick at nightfall in the woods...' should be read and followed by a silence long enough for its terrible meaning to become clear..."

 

The War Poems

In Flanders Fields  (by John McCrae, MD)

"On May 2, 1915, John McCrae's close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell ... The next day ... as John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson silently watched and later recalled, 'His face was very tired but clam as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave ... when he was done, without a word, McCrae handed the poem to Allinson. Allinson was deeply moved..."

For the Fallen  (by Robert Laurence Binyon)

"The poem was written in mid September 1914, a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. During these weeks the British Expeditionary Force had suffered casualties following its first encounter with the Imperial German Army at the Battle of Mons on 23 August ... Laurence said in 1939 that the four lines of the fourth stanza came to him first. These words of the fourth stanza have become especially familiar and famous..."

The Soldier  (by Rupert Brooke)

"Perhaps his most famous poem, it reflects British sorrow over and pride in the young men who died in World War I. Narrated in the first person by an English soldier, the poem is sentimental, patriotic, and epitaphic. In the closing sestet, the poem's speaker suggests that his soul is eternally linked with England. The poem's familiar opening lines acquired even greater poignancy as a result of Brooke's own wartime death" [Encyclopaedia Britannica].

Dulce et Decorum Est  (by Wilfred Owen)

"They would not print Wilfred Owen's poem until after the war. Wilfred Owen died on the last day of war 1918. For me, he epitomises Soldier X" [viewer's comment at source].

Suicide in the Trenches  (by Siegfried Sassoon)

"This is one of the many poems the poet Siegfried Sassoon composed in response to World War I, reflecting his own notable service in that especially bloody conflict. Sassoon was a brave and gallant upper-class officer who eventually opposed the war, but never lost his admiration for the common soldiers who had to fight it. Sassoon felt contempt for the political leaders and civilian war hawks who, safe in their power and comfort, sent young men off to die in huge battles that seemed futile and pointless ... [and] brought home to an uninformed public the true reality of the ghastly nature of the war" [source].

Aftermath  (by Siegfried Sassoon)

Readers' comments:  "Very emotional and captures the horrific scenes"  /  "These war poems make one remember those who served ... and those who need to be honoured by us"  /  "This poem is going to haunt me for a long time. Powerful. Heartbreaking. Wise. And it hurts in that way that truth has of hurting"  /  "Raw and emotional, this poem really hits home, and shows the brutal and vicious cycle that is war"  /  "First hand account of the futility of war"

In Memoriam Easter 2015  (by Edward Thomas)

"The manuscript of Edward Thomas's In Memoriam [Easter 1915] reveals that this sophisticated four-line poem has been given its elaborate title by an editor at a later date.  '6.IV.15', by comparison, is suitably bare, suitably unembellished, and it seems right for a poem which withholds more than it explicitly voices..."

Tommy  (by Rudyard Kipling)

"'Tommy' is such a powerful poem with its context percolating through decades at a stretch. At one point, you feel that little knot tighten up in your throat and your mind knows how true the words are. The people, the government, they promise a better lifestyle for the soldiers, but in reality, they didn't even receive extra rations. But Tommy is not a fool..." [source].

 

Poems, Odes, Songs, Tributes

YOUTUBE:  Soldiers Remembrance Day Song - If You're Reading This  (Published on 05 November 2019)

Cover version by Kelly Beynon-Wing.  "I found this song, listened to it once and cried - the true reality of the families that lost their loved ones and still do"

YOUTUBE:  MCMXIV  (Published on 09 June 2019)

Written by Philip Larkin in 1964.  "Never such innocence; never before or since"  /  Viewers' comments:  "Millions of decent men cut down in their prime FOR THIS"  /  "All of those brave, brave men all either injured or died and for what? For us now to just fold and give our country away"  /  "Never forget the past, for it shapes our future"  /  "Is this the future the men and boys in 1914 and 1939 fought for?"  /  "They gave up everything to preserve the Britain they knew and loved. But those brave young men WERE Britain. They were everything that made it great. And without them, the country fell to ruin and became the mess it is today"  /  "Tell my ancestors there is no such thing as being English"  /  "Such strong generations mainly forgotten in this [today's] clown world"  /  "I wonder, in this day and age, would Britons be so willing?"  /  "Lest we forget"  /  "The generation that went to war in 1914 was one of the most courageous and patriotic"  /  "Amazing men, made to do the unspeakable"  /   "...only to be betrayed by their own government. Shame on our politicians"  /  "A desperately sad video. The enormity of what we have lost is overwhelming, incomprehensible"  /  "Great Britain once a vestige of Anglo Saxon culture and accomplishment is now reduced to a third world cesspit"

Reflections on Remembrance Sunday  (11 November 2018)

"Brave soldiers in their graves revolve as EU leaders now resolve to render hard won victories to nought / On foreign soil in two world wars, they kept invaders from our shores..."

YOUTUBE:  Hallelujah - Soldiers Version  (Published on 10 November 2018)

Please note that as from 12 November 2019 this Youtube is only accessible by signing in.  It was freely available yesterday (11th) and had been so for the past year since its publication.  There is no discernible reason why it should now be considered by YouTube as 'inappropriate for some viewers' , but this kind of tiresome and patronising politically correct nannying is becoming more and more prevalent amongst social media platforms as they jump to encourage and contribute to the loss of the very freedoms for which our Armed Forces sacrificed their lives - which irony seems to have bypassed the minds of these infantile social media SJWs...

Cover version by Kelly Beynon.  "This song was recorded to commemorate the end of the first world war, and for all the men and women who have served this country and for those who have suffered or died for the privileges that we have today... I salute you all"  /  Viewers' comments:  "A beautiful rendition of a beautiful tune with haunting lyrics"  /  "beautifully sung - with simplicity and grace"  /  "Thank you brave men, you did all this for us, we could have been in camps ir anything by the Germans and you made that not happen. You guys fought hard for us, some of you were only about 18 or 16 and you still did it. Such brave men, I salute you"  /  "The poppy is the first thing that was beautiful to grow out of the place that was worse than hell itself, the flower was also the same colour of blood. Remember not only the victories and defeats but remember all the men and women from both sides and the ones who stood aside that died so we may never create those atrocities again"

YOUTUBE:  If You're Reading This  (Published on 01 March 2018)

Written by and performed by Tim McGraw.  /  Viewers' comments:  "Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the brave men and women who sacrificed everything for this great country. Also to their families. We are all in your debt"  /  "I heard this song in my school's veterans day program when they commemorate the death of a soldier and it reminded of my grandfather. Thank you for your service pawpaw"  /  "Rest in Peace Chris Kyle, you will be missed, a true American hero., rest well brother..."

YOUTUBE:  Brothers In Arms  (Published on 06 July 2017)

Written and recorded by Mark Knopfler.  "The live concert 'A Night in London' was recorded in the BBC building in 1996"  /  Viewers' comments:  "This song will be played at this soldier's funeral as they roll my casket out the church"  /  "Listening to this reminds me of the guys that didn't come back with me"  /  "A great song for this time of violence in the world"  /  "This is the most meaningful song to express the weary soul of soldiers and veterans. It has become my Remembrance Day anthem"  /  "The utter destruction of life that is so senseless"

YOUTUBE:  Hallelujah Veterans Version  (Published on 10 May 2017)

Written and recorded by Sailor Jerri.  "I rewrote Hallelujah for our Veterans. Every picture in this video was sent to me by the great members of our Armed Forces ... Thank you so much for your service and your support"  /  Viewers' comments:  "I am a Vietnam Vet, as I read the comments below and see the negative ones it brings back memories of when I came home. As I have gotten older I have figured out those people and the ones here are simply using the rights I and so many others fought for in Vietnam and other wars to protect, so what I say to you is this, You are welcome. I am glad you use those rights no matter how many you hurt with your words. Freedom is not free, and the truest test of freedom is to allow others to say the things that hurt the most"  /  "This hits home, girl, even for this Royal Netherlands Navy veteran. Thank you"  /  "As a vet, the 771 dislikes is morally reprehensible, as an American it sickens me. Thank you to my brothers and sisters who have served and those who now carry the torch. Thank you for your profound rendition Sailor"

More viewers' comments:  "We went we were sent... we did what was ordered... we were serious about it but showed good humour... friends were lost doing the same... they spit on our uniforms when back we came... using the freedom that we gave"  /  "I served in the British Navy and met a few of your USMC and US Navy lads during the Vietnam was when I was overseas and I can still see the pain in some of their eyes ... They were a good set of lads, and I hope your song brings some solace to them all"  /  "As a Veteran of the Angolan war of 1965-1988 where we stopped the expansion of the Soviet empire, I salute all Veterans"  /  "Because of all the Armed Forces, we have a great nation. Thank you to all who served and still serve. Because of your sacrifices, we have the FREEDOM"  /  "I'm a Canadian Army Cadet. This version of Hallelujah was introduced to me today at one of our remembrance day parades. Upon first hearing this, I was moved by the ability and want to create something in relevance for our veterans and fallen soldiers. Looking at this video, and the comments that follow, I realised that this has taken a great toll on many. Thank you"

More viewers' comments:  "Thank you to all of the brave men and women who sacrificed everything for us and our families. For serving our Country and protecting us. God bless you"  /  "This song is about the brave men and women who have gone through hell on earth to defend this country and they deserve our respect and gratitude. God bless this country, God bless you Sailor Jerri for writing this, and most of all God bless you and thank you Veterans for fighting to keep the country I line in safe"  /  "Thank you from my heart for this. Service connected disabled Vietnam Vet. To my brothers who didn't come home and to Matt who died with the 101st in Helmand in 2010 I dedicate this. Damn I miss you all"  /  "In a few years I'm going to join the US army. I'm afraid of what I will see but I'm willing to fight and die for my country. Pray for me please. God bless"

YOUTUBE:  The Battle  ( / Published on 20 August 2016)

Written and recorded by The Strawbs in 1969.  "In the early dawn the Bishop's men / Shivered in the damp / But the shiver came not from the cold / And spread throughout the camp / The trembling horses sensed the fear / Of silent thoughtful men / Who prayed that wives and families / Might see them once again..."  /  Viewer's comment:  "Wonderful... poetic, chilling, violent, soothing, the best anti war song ever. of course it describes a game of chess... genius"

YOUTUBE:  No Man's Land / Green Fields of France / Willie McBride  (Published on 20 September 2014)

Cover rersion by The Fureys.  "Well how do you do, Private William McBride / Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side? / A rest for awhile in the warm summer sun / I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done / And I see by your gravestone that you were only nineteen / When you joined the glorious fallen in nineteen-sixteen..."

YOUTUBE:  No Man's Land / The Green Fields of France / Willie McBride  (Published on 05 March 2013)

"This poignant song was written by Eric Bogle in 1975. This is what he said about the song: 'When I was in Northern France in 1975, I stopped at a small battalion cemetery near the Belgian border. It was a beautiful little spot, very peaceful, the sun was shining and poppies grew in the fields. It was so beautiful that one could almost forget the Great Obscenity that had murdered the 310 soldiers lying buried on that cemetery. Almost, but not quite. I wrote this song two months later.'  The last verse carries a very powerful message, extremely relevant to this day:..."

YOUTUBE:  The Band Played Waltzing Matilda  (Published on 16 October 2013)

Written by Eric Bogel in 1971.  "Recorded live at Stoneyfell Winery, Adelaide, South Australia on 1st March 2009"  /  Viewers' comments:  "I was a soldier. I was injured through an IED. I am proud to have been a soldier. But this song, I am broken..."  /  "I served in the U.S. Marines in Vietnam in 1969-1970. I heard this song for the first time in 1978 ... it resonated with my experiences in a much later conflict ... Its message transcends wars, the sides are irrelevant. it's about sacrifice, honour, commitment and ... the futility of war"  /  "Perhaps one of the most powerful songs ever written. The words should be studied by every school student a week before ANZAC day so they will have a very clear understanding [of] what war is all about and the suffering that so many heroes endured. Thank you Eric Bogle for making it as it really was"  /  "In Australia we mourn the dead and the suffering. If you are ever in Australia on the 25th April of any year, get to the Cenotaph in Martin Place in Sydney. Get there early, before dawn, 4am, and watch and absorb what happens. Stay there until midday to watch the march and absorb the emotion of a nation grieving"

YOUTUBE:  Remembrance Day  (Published on 03 November 2011)

Written by Mark Knopfler in 2009.  The theme and message is universal... 'We will remember them'"  /  Viewers' comments:  "These photos are as worthy of this beautiful, poignant song as the song is of the heart-rending photos. Thank you"  /  "I played this song at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Remembrance Day in Ottawa... Lest We Forget"  /  "Absolutely beautiful tribute song to these honoured dead. These men who fought and died and were moved around like chess pieces deserve our highest and most humble and deepest respect ... [They] lost their lives defending the free world ... Younger people should be educated on the tremendous sacrifices that were made that ensured the freedoms that most of them take completely for granted"

Remembrance  (by Lawrence A. Foxen)  (No Date)

"'In Flanders fields, the poppies grow',  Those famous words that we all know.  But through the year and in November,  Do we truly all remember?..."

 

Hymns

YOUTUBE:  I Vow To Thee My Country - Festival of Remembrance 2017  (Published on 13 November 2017)

A glorious instrumental version of this hymn.  "The Royal British legion, whose patron is HM Queen Elizabeth II, holds its annual Festival of Remembrance at Royal Albert Hall in London on 11th November 2017"  /  Viewers' comments:  "Very moving tribute to those who have fallen and those who have served valiantly"  /  "The only enemy which can defeat the United Kingdom is herself. As long as the confidence of the British people remains strong, no travails in this world can triumph over the spirit of Britain. Stand strong Britain, remember your accomplishments, remember your history..."  /  "Remember the poor boys that suffered in the mud and blood of the Marne, Verdun, the Somme, Passchendaele..."

YOUTUBE:  I Vow To Thee My Country  (Published on 31 October 2014)

Viewer's comment:  "What a WONDERFUL performance!"

YOUTUBE:  I Vow To Thee My Country  (Published on 21 October 2013)

Dedicated to Lee Rigby, died May 2013.  "This song is usually associated with Britain, but I believe we can share it for this, because a stronger bond holds us together...  The love for our own country and the respect for our militaries"  /  Viewer's comment:  "God bless and keep all who have and are serving their country. They fight for us, for Freedom. God bless and watch over their families"

 

May We Never Forget

Just 19 years old when some were told
We need you all or our country will fall.
Never knowing for sure if they'd return to shore,
The horror endured as they lost friends adored;
Unbearably worse than they could possibly converse.
Is it too much to ask that their dreadful task
be remembered whatever with thanks forever?...

[source]

 

Never Forgotten

Men in trenches, bit by rats, foul putrid gas tears through the air,
Ice cold mud seeps through their bones, while death beckons everywhere...
Bodies strewn across the land, and hung on fences high,
Blazing guns still fire in frenzy, blocking out a young man's cry;
He was one of many millions, who died in no man's land
Who would never again kiss their children
or hold their sweetheart's hand.
Who would never again hug their mother, as she bade him a fond goodnight;
Who would never again shake their father's hand, or tell jokes by the firelight.
For four long years the battle raged, till it finally fell to its knees,
And in the fields of France where the brave now rest,
Red poppies dance in the breeze.

[From a reader at source]

 

To the Female Suffering From A Severe Case
of 'White Privilege' and Self-Hatred

You seem to think it fun that your ancestors did die, that you have some legitimacy to your treacherous, hateful cry,
You want us to dance on the graves of our men, you scorn them with insults, with your electronic pen,
You giggle and snarl like a degenerate child, thrilled with the commotion of which you have riled.
But know this and listen, the roads where you stand were built and created with those great male hands.
The device which you use to spread all your lies would not even be possible without their death cries.

You cuddle up tight in your soft warm bed; those men slept in trenches where they suffered and bled.
You dwell in an ivory tower shielded by comfortable things, yet you have no knowledge of suffering or the real pain it brings.
Those seats you sit upon up mighty and high are built on the cemeteries of the dead - since for you they did die.
Those graves you dance upon in your frenzy of hate are the graves of those who gave you all you had - and your reply?
Is to berate.

Every comfort you have, every freedom you breathe, it was given as an inheritance, from the men who did bleed,
Everything you know, every simple pleasure, every right, passion, or artistic leisure,
Was given to you by your fathers; by men who loved you dear,
Who were slaughtered like cattle in the millions, just so would know no fear;
Men who gasped for breath as their bodies tormented with pain, died like this for you so you would never feel the same.

Not only did they build everything you see, they sacrificed their lives, for you, and for me.
What sacrifice do you make?  What thanks do you give?
To acknowledge these men who died just so that you and I could live?
You suffer with an ailment, a poison of mind, that even a mere' thank you' you just cannot find.

From a woman.

[Written by a reader at source]

 

Lost Causes by R.H. Nichols

"He paused to puff life into the pipe, a glossy sheen settling over his eyes.  'I have served my country now for more than fifty years,' he went on. 'And in that time, I've fought alongside thousands of men; men from all walks of life; men who were hungry, exhausted, and hopelessly outnumbered; men who were shelled and shot at until they were senseless; men who should have surrendered or run, but, who, through it all, laughed and sang and cried and kept on fighting.  In exchange, they never asked for very much.  Only the promise that what they were dying for wouldn't die with them; that future generations would never forget what they had done; that somehow they, and the values they fought for, would become enshrined ion the nation's consciousness...'

"His speech slowed now, the tone deepening.  'Of course, I can't claim to know what those values were,' he said. 'Every man had his own.  But I do know what they didn't include.  It didn't include a country that would voluntarily surrender its sovereignty to its long-standing enemies.  Nor did they fight for a system which would tax, harass and spy on them every minute of every day; in which they couldn't even say a joke - let alone a much needed home truth - without fear of official reprisal.  And they sure as hell didn't fight and die for a Britain in which their grandchildren would grow up to call them fascists...'

"He paused again, collecting his thoughts.  'I never thought I'd say it, but looking back, the ones that died were the lucky ones.  They didn't live to see the great betrayal that was to follow, to see the wasting of all their efforts.  We couldn't have made it a land less fit for heroes to live in if we'd tried, and to be honest I can't say I care what happens anymore...'"

[Quoted from the novel Lost Causes by a reader at source]

 

Poor Fools...

"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grandchildren are once more slaves."

 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
       In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
       In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, MD,
Canadian Army (1872-1918)

 

 

"[T]he foe of which John McCrae wrote were not the people in the opposite trenches.
The foe were tyranny and dictatorship ... our soldiers knew this ...
Yes, we have indeed dropped the torch! Yes, we have indeed broken faith with those who died and lie in Flanders Fields! ...
and yes, we will have to bear the consequences in the years to come..."
[
source]

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

 

Please note that the inclusion of any poem or item on this page does not imply we would necessarily endorse the source from which the extract is taken; neither can we necessarily vouch for any other materials by the same authors, or any groups or ministries or websites with which they may be associated, or any periodicals to which they may contribute, or the beliefs of whatever kind they may hold, or any other aspect of their work or ministry or position.

Elizabeth McDonald     https://www.bayith.org     bayith@blueyonder.co.uk