Remembering November 11th, 1918

Even to those born in the middle of the 20th century like me, and especially because so many of our parents and grandparents lost their lives in one or both World Wars, the years 1914-1918 do not seem far away at all. I made this same post last year and make no apologies for repeating it.

Here’s my remembrance for November 11th.

TAPESTRY: A Poem of Remembrance
You daughters of Normandy
And you who wield the needle through the lancing,
Branching threads of Ypres and Arras cloth—
Weep.

No wool or flax from the low low fields
Of Flanders can match the knotted intricacy,
The lacework, tracework
Of sword and spear and pitching pike,
The criss-cross-stitch savagery,
Brown broidery futility
Of Harold among the trees,
Of Hastings blood poured out on Bayeux tapestry.

You women of Picardy
And you who shove the shuttle through the branching,
Lancing looms of Lancashire cloth—
Mourn.

No homespun or hessian from the rolling mills
Of Blackburn can match the intricate knottedness,
The tracework, lacework
Of trench and gun and bloody bayonet,
The Christ-crucifying savagery,
Red poppy insanity
Of Tommy among the trees,
Of wasting blood poured out on Somme and Passchendaele.
© Lizzie Ballagher

2014-06-26 12.56.56

 

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Music and Poetry!

A Treble's Voice amendedartwork

Merciless Day

 

The world wakes with a chip on its shoulder –

Reluctantly. Too chill, too soon

Between cold clouds the stars grow colder.

By the light of a cruel, one-eyed moon

 

The iced ribbon of road runs into the sky,

As merciless day cracks open:

A grudging window of heavy-lidded grey.

Now soft night shatters; sleep is broken.

 

Rooted in earth, black trees stand, darkly

Bearing the weight of recrucified Christ.

Suspended from stars, stiff branches hang starkly

On thousands of Calvaries where soldiers have diced,

 

On thousands of mountains where troop tanks have rolled,

In thousands of valleys where armies have moved

To thousands of Bethlehems where peasants untold

Have given up first-born and babes they have loved.

 

Kyrie eleison! O, deliver the war-torn.

Christe eleison!

O when will be your true morn?

Kyrie eleison!

O bring us your new dawn.

© Lizzie Ballagher

This poem has been set to music by composer Simon Mold as part of a 100th anniversary World War 1 commemorative requiem mass. It was performed in various UK venues in 2014 and in 2015 and is now recorded by Amemptos Music Ltd

http://www.amemptosmusic.co.uk/ourstandard.asp?pageid=82

on the album A Treble’s Voice sung by Oliver Barton.

Remembering November 11th, 1918

Even to those born in the middle of the 20th century like me, and especially because so many of our parents and grandparents lost their lives in one or both World Wars, the years 1914-1918 do not seem far away at all.

Here’s my remembrance for November 11th.

TAPESTRY: A Poem of Remembrance
You daughters of Normandy
And you who wield the needle through the lancing,
Branching threads of Ypres and Arras cloth—
Weep.

No wool or flax from the low low fields
Of Flanders can match the knotted intricacy,
The lacework, tracework
Of sword and spear and pitching pike,
The criss-cross-stitch savagery,
Brown broidery futility
Of Harold among the trees,
Of Hastings blood poured out on Bayeux tapestry.

You women of Picardy
And you who shove the shuttle through the branching,
Lancing looms of Lancashire cloth—
Mourn.

No homespun or hessian from the rolling mills
Of Blackburn can match the intricate knottedness,
The tracework, lacework
Of trench and gun and bloody bayonet,
The Christ-crucifying savagery,
Red poppy insanity
Of Tommy among the trees,
Of wasting blood poured out on Somme and Passchendaele.
© Lizzie Ballagher

2014-06-26 12.56.56