Thursday, 9 June 2011

Equal by Death – A Poem

Row upon row of Men.
            Every Man different
   made equal by Death.
In life They were different
            Stature, Personality, Status;
    Now this is gone
Left equal through a grave

They are not the same
  Yet all similar in three ways:
            They Served.
            They Fought.
            They were Brave.

This poem was one of two that I wrote when I was in Belgium for the World War One battlefields tour that I went on with my school.

I remember writing this on a coach being very cold and tired but inspired to write.

Throughout the week that I was in Belgium I had seen hundreds of graves, graves that were all the same. Each man had an equal grave.

It was poetic in a way because it showed that no matter who the men were they would all be remembered equally; all equally brave.

Whenever I look back on the photos of the graves and Tyne Cot I think of this poem I wrote, especially the first line. Because in Tyne Cot there was rows upon rows of graves as far as the eye could see.

I remember walking around to the entrance to Tyne Cot, you have to walk around the outside down to the bottom of the road then you can go to the cemetery and the walls are really high walking around but half way down the path you have the first look of the graves.

When we were walking down we were all talking in groups laughing and talking but the second that we saw the graves everyone stopped and stared even if it was only for a second.

We stared at the number of graves. We had already been to the Menin Gate and seen all the names on the walls but it was so different seeing the numbers as graves.

I will always look back on my time in Belgium to be one of the most heart breaking journeys of my life. I had known the casualties but seeing the graves is so different.

I’ll never forget the time my time in Belgium and France as Siegfried Sassoon said in his poem ‘Aftermath’: Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget.

No comments:

Post a Comment