Tuesday 4th August 1914

"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time"  British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey.

 

Old Royal Enfield bicycles

propped against the wall,

a gaggle of men,

then, in the far distance,

a gable end

and look! a house

windows left wide open

in this Cheshire heat.

 

And, have we forgotten,

if we knew at all,

this art devoid

of rhetoric or name? 

 

For in this humid heat

their necks are sticky

their collars starched and neat. 

Image result for 1914 group of men in the countryside talking bikes

 

◄ A turbulence of dalliance

Fossil sonnet ►

Comments

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John Marks

Thu 3rd Oct 2019 20:33

My sincere thanks to you Kevin. Thank YOU so much for noticing. I tried to use this little scene to convey a whole mood. Not very successfully I fear. Conveyed best, I think, by a deeply unfashionable (because deeply un-pc) yet quite brilliant poet, Philip Larkin, a man with vices as well as virtues, now isn't that a surprise?

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
Has changed itself to past
Without a word--the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

My grandfather served for four years on the western front as a machine gunner in the Cheshire Regiment, long since 'cut' by one or other of our oh-so 'patriotic' governments.

His name was Jack, a silent breed of a man, I loved him dearly. John

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keith jeffries

Wed 2nd Oct 2019 23:27

John,

It is so hard to imagine that such a summer was the prelude to the most ghastly carnage imagineable. I remember as a boy knowing men who had returned from that war. One in particular had the most awful cough which I attributed to smoking but in fact was a result of mustard gas poisoning on the Somme.

Thank you for this comparison and reminder of those heroic men and women
Keith

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