There has been a lot of talk about the Tower Poppies and whether they are appropriate and what to do with them after Remembrance Day. Just to throw my two penneth in. I think they are dignified, beautiful and very moving. However, not as moving as the four million people who have taken the time to come and see them and remember. Surely, that is their prime purpose – not to be pretty or ugly or whatever. Just to make people stop and remember. For what it’s worth, I also think they should be dismantled. They are not a tourist attraction. It is the shock that stirs the soul. So many. Would this not become diluted over time?
Anyway just for today, a poem from the beautiful Siegfried Sassoon. Remembrance. Gratitude. Yet not to forget what we are grateful for and the horror of it from someone who earned the right to tell us what he thought.
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.