Armistice Day 1933

This we have said: 'We shall remember them.'
And deep our sorrow while the deed was young.
Even as David mourned for Absolem
Mourned we, with aching heart and grievous tongue.
Yet, what man grieves for long? Time hastens by
And ageing memory, clutching at its hem,
Harks back, as silence falls, to gaze and sigh;
For we have said, 'We shall remember them.'

'Age shall not wither...' So the world runs on.
We grieve, and sleep, and wake to laugh again;
And babes, untouched by pain of days long gone,
Untaught by sacrifice, grow into men.
What should these know of darkness and despair,
Of glory, now seen dimly, like a gem
Glowing thro' dust, that we let gather there?-
We who have said, 'We shall remember them.'

Grey men go marching down this street today:
Grave men, whose ranks grow pitifully spare.
Into the West each year they drift away
From silence into silence over there.
Unsung, unnoticed, quietly they go,
Mayhap to rest; mayhap a diadem
To claim, that was denied them here below
By those who vowed, 'We shall remember them.'

'We shall remember them.' This have we said.
Nor sighs, nor silences devoutly planned
Alone shall satisfy the proud young dead;
But all things that we do to this their land
Aye, theirs; not ours; of this be very sure;
Theirs, too, the right to credit or condemn.
And, if the soul they gave it shall endure,
Well may we say, 'We have remembered them.'

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"Armistice Day 1933" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 May 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6196/armistice-day-1933>.

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