Saturday, November 11, 2006


Lord Wavell was a British General in World War Two ut he also published a collection of poems entatitled "Other Men's Flowers". It is one of my favorite collections. As a battle commander he knew how to endure hardship, and some of his choices are rarely anthologized.

here is Kipling on Boxing:

Read here the moral roundly writ
For him who into battle goes—
Each soul that hitting hard or hit,
Endureth gross or ghostly foes.
Prince, blown by many overthrows
Half blind with shame, half choked with dirt
Man cannot tell, but Allah knows
How much the other side was hurt!

From the same poem come his comments on cricket.

Thank God who made the British Isles
And taught me how to play,
I do not worship crocodiles,
Or bow the knee to clay!
Give me a willow wand and I
With hide and cork and twine
From century to century
Will gambol round my shrine!

Finally, for Remembrance Dayand for remembrance of 7/7, this poem by Greta Briggs, London under Bombardment.

I, who am known as London, have faced stern times before,
Having fought and ruled and traded for a thousand years and more;
I knew the Roman legions and the harsh-voiced Danish hordes;
I heard the Saxon revels, saw blood on the Norman swords.
But, though I am scarred by battle, my grim defenders vow
Never was I so stately nor so well-beloved as now.
The lights that burn and glitter in the exile's lonely dream,
The lights of Picadilly, and those that used to gleam
Down Regents Street and Kingsway may now no longer shine,
But other lights keep burning, and their splendour, too, is mine,
Seen in the work-worn faces and glimpsed in the steadfast eyes
When little homes lie broken and death descends from the skies.
The bombs have shattered my churches, have torn my streets apart,
But they have not bent my spirit and they shall not break my heart.
For my people's faith and courage are lights of London town
Which still would shine in legends though my broadest bridge were down.

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