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Liberty Nation: Selected Poems of War and Remembrance

It is tempting to look back at history and feel with arrogance that we in the modern world know so much better than our ancestors – an attitude that keeps us from achieving our potential as we doom ourselves to repeat the suffering of earlier generations. On the 100 year anniversary of WWI’s ending, we cannot pretend to know what this brave generation went through, but let us read the words of those who experienced it firsthand.

Liberty Nation presents a short selection that we feel best represents the turbulence of emotions felt by us all.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

Marching Men

Marjorie Pickthall

Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to Calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman’s heart.

 

The Soldier

Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts of England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading these selected poems. Perhaps, as we finish, we should leave the last words to someone who could turn a phrase with the very best of them: Ronald Reagan.

The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

From a speech given to the National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983.

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