Big Questions

They could not see
the end
of their noses
the end
of the last century
the end
of infantry and cavalry
of Boys Own battles
and yet they stand
today in ceremony,
the successors
and descendants
of those, who may have
invoked
supplied
and managed
this catastrophe,
with military pomp.

Somehow
it glorifies,
it excuses
it avoids
the actions,
the decisions,
the consequences
the tactical and
maybe strategic folly
the utterly desperate
and tragic outcome,
somehow …

And yet, how else
can we remember
those, who were,
without question,
persuaded to be brave
enough to give up
their lives
for a five mile
quagmire?

[This is the only way I can commemorate Passchendaele. Today, 31st July, is the centenary of the start of that horrendous battle. It raged for 100 days and took hundreds of thousands of lives. The oft spoken words: “We will remember them” are not enough any more. We should now be asking big and much more difficult questions]

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved.

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About PoetJanstie

As a young man, John was fit and sporting. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines as Gordonstoun, giving shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. This fitness was enhanced by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, by selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family and pursuing a career, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a blogger and poet. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a forty-five year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three singing groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices; a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club) and a mixed barbershop quartet, Needle & Fred. He is also a would be (once upon a time) photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is autobiographical and very often pins his colours to the mast. In 2013, he completed an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of nine poets, who met on Twitter. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle.
This entry was posted in Death, Free Verse, poem, political, sadness, War and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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