Thursday, 12 March 2009

In Memoriam

by Ewart Alan Mackintosh (killed in action 21 November 1917 aged 24)
(Private D Sutherland killed in action in the German trenches, 16 May 1916, and the others who died.)

So you were David's father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again.

Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a word of the fighting,
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year get stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer.

You were only David's father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up in the evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight -
O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all.

Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers',
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying,
And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and gallant,
They saw their first-born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed 'Don't leave me, sir',
For they were only your fathers
But I was your officer.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

In Flanders Field

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

We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived,
felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn 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.