Photos and poetry 17 – Lest We Forget
“Lest we forget”
Remember the war, nineteen fourteen to eighteen?
A hundred years later we think of it yet,
and posters remind us, with soldiers in silhouette,
jogging our memory “Lest we forget”.
let’s not forget it was not unavoidable,
no freak of nature, no act of God’s will:
the Kaiser, the King and the Tsar and their generals
called up the soldiers and told them to kill,
let’s not forget there were some who were optimists:
“War would be madness with weapons this strong.
Death would be wholesale – they’ll never go through with it.”
So said the peace movement – shame they were wrong!
let’s not forget it was not all one-sided,
with poor Tommy Atkins being ambushed by Fritz:
both sides used rifles and bombs and artillery,
set up to blow many thousands to bits,
let’s not forget it was not noble sacrifice,
dignified heroes who laid down their lives:
young men were herded in droves to destruction –
too bad for their mothers and sisters and wives.
let’s not forget that the later atrocities –
fascism, Holocaust, truly obscene –
all had their roots in the cruelty and vengefulness
shown by the victors in nineteen eighteen.
still there are those who would maintain the bigotry,
pride for their nation, contempt for the rest:
although we’re aware of the rights of humanity,
still we must boast that “our boys” are the best.
now let us learn from the waste and the suffering;
let us build peace and there’s hope for us yet,
for war sends good people to kill one another,
but peace values all of us – lest we forget!
by Sue Gilmurray
I have written about the Remembrance Sunday Peace Ceremony at which this poem was read. Please take a moment to read it by clicking HERE
You can see my other posts which combine my love of Photos and Poetry here
If you’d like to you can read my other blog 1500 Saturdays here .