A lovely old fella, probably in his nineties, came into my shop back in late 2006 when TonbridgeBlog launched and introduced me to a poet from the first WW. I was moved enough to post this poem. Thanks to that lovely old gent (George I think was his name) I haven't seen him for a while now so I hope he's still in good health.)
Robert Service was an ambulance man during WWI, his brother was killed in action in 1916, which inspired him to write some beautiful poetry in an anthology called The Rhymes of a Red Cross Man. Here is one of them with November 11th in mind:
From wrath-red dawn to wrath-red dawn,
The Guns have brayed without abate;
And now the sick sun looks upon
The bleared, blood-boltered fields of hate
As if it loathed to rise again.
How strange the hush! Yet sudden, hark!
From yon down-trodden gold of grain,
The leaping rapture of a lark.
A fusillade of melody,
That sprays us from yon trench of sky;
A new amazing enemy
We cannot silence though we try;
A battery on radiant wings,
That from yon gap of golden fleece
Hurls at us hopes of such strange things
As joy and home and love and peace.
Pure heart of song! do you not know
That we are making earth a hell?
Or is it that you try to show
Life still is joy and all is well?
Brave little wings! Ah, not in vain
You beat into that bit of blue:
Lo! we who pant in war's red rain
Lift shining eyes, see Heaven too.