Day: Oct 31, 2015

Remembrance Day

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IT’S STRANGE BUT EVERY YEAR, AS NOVEMBER APPROACHES, a kind of heaviness overtakes me which doesn’t leave me until well after the 11th (Armistice Day/Remembrance Day in Europe and Veterans Day in the US). In the last few years that period has produced a powerful melancholy poem about War from me. It’s as if the whole weight of the futility and hubristic evil of War — especially the First World War — weighs down on me, as my essence comes out in empathy with those whose lives were worthlessly squandered and also with the hell of their experiences. That war is like a hideous abscess on the arse of humanity. And when I respond to those deep feelings by writing something about war — whether a poem or an essay — it’s as if I keep the fire burning of all the young poets in the trenches who were sacrificed to satisfy the madness of the psychopathic power-players who designed that war while they sipped sherry on the lawn. Although I could mention names such as Isaac Rosenberg, Ivor Gurney or Siegfried Sassoon, I’m thinking especially of the beautiful Wilfred Owen, the officer who died aged 25 along with more than 1000 others in the battle at the crossing of the bridge over the Sambre–Oise Canal on November 4th 1918 — just one week before Armistice Day. All his war poems, written within the space of one hellish year, were published posthumously.

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