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armistice


dedalus
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No blinding sunlight of tropical day

nor secrecy of northern night

can further mask this desolation:

 

an idea is not responsible

for the lives of those who hold it.

 

Flotsam, jetsam,

such ribald anarchic terms.

 

Death was kind to you:

a scant scattering of mourners,

myself among them.

 

The gabbled service

somewhere off a slip road from the M5

was horrible. Predictably so.

 

I could hear your dry chuckle.

 

I shall attend your funeral, old boy,

or else you shall attend mine.

I remember you saying that.

 

Was that Phnom Phen, Vientiane,

Saigon back in the bad old days?

Perhaps it was Clapham Junction.

 

People live

as long as other people live

who still remember.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Touched deeply. We no longer call it Armistice Day here. I usually read "Into the Valley of Death..." and I remember my brother buried by a bulldozer on Guam, a hero at eighteen. Well written with dignified and disgusted mood. No one here seems to know why the eleventh hour of the eleventh month is marked on calendars. Jesus. Even when when the three elevens line up every century. After Lord Cardigan's famous day, but...hell, you know what I mean. I guess I'll go find my copy of All Quiet on the Western Front, by Remarque. It's now called Veteran's Day--lump 'em all in together. The war to end all wars was a nice catch phrase.

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David W. Parsley

Hi Brendan,

 

I like the unusual application of "ribald, anarchic" here, inviting contemplation of the motives of those who send others into harm's way. I am particularly impressed by the stanza,

 

 

an idea is not responsible

for the lives of those who hold it.

 

 

Very profound and well stated, with a touch of irony.

 

As badger11 mentions, there are some "familiar" phrases in the poem - for me they kind of stand out more starkly beside a stanza like this one. The last stanza, in particular, would settle more weightily for me, if it were to be cited as traditional wisdom and analyzed by the speaker - could express any one or combination of sentiments: hope; skepticism; certainty; objectivity; or something else, something ineffable passed through the hands of the poet.

 

I like this work and the chosen time of its posting.

 

Thanks,

- Dave

 

P.S. Yes, I'm wearing a tie.

P.P.S. Have not had a full moon episode in many years.

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As usual Brendan absolutely pitch perfect and more on Armistice Day (The hidden history of Veterans Day) Many thanks for this. DC& J

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

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Hi Brendan, I always enjoy reading your work, especially the historical ones. As long as other people live who still remember, but it is poetry such as yours that keep the remembered alive beyond memory.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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