Saturday, November 11, 2023

A Scot's War Poem

The short poem above was penned by Joseph Lee, a Scottish artist and poet who was 
serving in the trenches on the Western Front at the time.  Is it maudlin?  Of course it is, 
but it captures the desperate need to find consolation from unspeakable tragedy.

Aig àm dol fodha na grèine agus anns a’ mhadainn, bidh sinn gan cuimhneachadh.


  1. I hate to disagree with you, VMM, but the poem is not maudlin. Touching, sentimental, "felt", sad--yes. But not maudlin.

    1. It is perfectly OK to disagree with me, and I value your point of view.

  2. Not Scottish, but one of my favorite WWI poems:

    I HAVE a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade,
    When Spring comes back with rustling shade
    And apple-blossoms fill the air—
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    When Springs brings back blue days and fair.

    ​⁠It may be he shall take my hand
    And lead me into his dark land
    And close my eyes and quench my breath—
    It may be I shall pass him still.
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    On some scarred slope of battered hill,
    When Spring comes round again this year
    And the first meadow-flowers appear.

    ⁠God knows 'twere better to be deep
    Pillowed in silk and scented down,
    Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep
    Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
    Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
    But I've a rendezvous with Death
    At midnight in some flaming town,
    When Spring trips north again this year,
    And I to my pledged word am true.
    I shall not fail that rendezvous.

    Alan Seeger

  3. I, too, think the poem is magnificent. Especially in its simplicity.


  4. Thank you Jerry for this post. My Dad was a WW2 vet serving in Sicily and North Africa. I remember him and all others who served and continue to serve today. Lest We Forget.

    1. You're welcome Pat, and my thanks for your Dad's service. The Scots Gaelic heading atop the first post in this series is the best translation I could find of "Lest We Forget."

    2. I should include my Mum, she worked in a factory making turrets for the Lancaster Bomber. She met my Dad in 1944 when he was on leave in London. I have a lovely photo of them almost 70 yrs. later standing in front of the Bomber at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. I highly recommend the DVD of the reunion with the one in the UK.

    3. The Lancaster was an amazing machine. Joseph Goebbels, who was also the Gauleiter of Berlin, was the only high-ranking Nazi official to regularly visit bombed out areas. After one particularly bad night raid, he asked an aide, "How do the English do this?!?!" The reply was, "They build Lancaster bombers faster than we can shoot them down."