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Saturday, 12 November 2016

ARMISTICE DAY


On Armistice Day
cheering crowds thronged the streets
and how the bands played!
But those joyous songs the people sang
served only to heighten your sense of sadness,
for they signified for you imminent redundancy.
The last of your boys were finally moving on.

There were no long drawn-out goodbyes,
just a few half-hearted pledges to keep in touch.
You'd been there for them when they'd needed you,
it was as simple as that.
Please remind me again -
how many broken minds did you mend?

Armistice Day
symbolised the end of an era for you.
Armistice Day
secretly filled you with dread.
But, guilt-ridden,
you'd smiled and celebrated with the rest
whilst trying hard to feign euphoria.

Meanwhile, all you could do
was await orders from above,
knowing it was inevitable
that you'd soon be exiled
from your beloved Craiglockheart.
It was unthinkable - you'd invested
heart and soul in that place
that had become so much more than home to you.
How apprehensive and weary you felt -
and your nervous stammer was worsening daily.

But the British Army had no compassion
for a severely damaged psychiatrist
who had become shell shocked by his patients.
You'd served your purpose
and now you were an embarrassment to them.
So they hastily signed your discharge papers
then sent you on your way.
And it seemed to you that not a living soul cared...



But oh how wrong you were!
What of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen?
Neither of those great war poets ever forgot you -
your name crops up frequently in their memoirs
with unmistakable affection and gratitude...

And now there is me -
an unknown insignificant, I know,
but you will be none-the-less in my thoughts
on this Remembrance Sunday in twenty-sixteen.
Oh Dr. Rivers,
I have read your books and digested your papers,
and have learnt so much from you.
You were a genius of your time.
And I will remember you
always...

William Halse Rivers Rivers

16 comments:

  1. Eleven eleven.
    __ So good to see you "Y", missed you; hope all is well! _m

    in agreement
    we wear this different cloak
    deep tarnish

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've missed you too, Doug...your unique take on life never fails to get me thinking deeply!:)
      My workload has been immense, but think I've just about managed to get on top of it now for a while (hopefully)!:)


      Oh absolutely...the connection can always be found if we look hard enough...there, just beneath the veneer...:))

      Delete
  2. As always, enjoyed the words, even the compelling mystery played out so well as a good story, with a compelling desire and slight fear, to know more of the history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed this, Anthony.
      I have added a link at the bottom of the post which will give some basic information about Dr. Rivers.
      I do hope this will be helpful.

      Thank you so much.:)

      Delete
  3. Beautifully written, Ygraine my good friend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful and touching...and I love the photo, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Linda!
      I know you feel much as I do about the suffering of all those during the World Wars...your understanding means so much...

      Much Love & Hugs xoxoxo

      Delete
  5. 'shocked by his patients '
    what a touching expressions dear .your poem is full of sorrows and grief that wars spread .
    it reminded me horrible and terrifying scenes from war movies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you are so kind...my heart-felt thanks!
      Gosh, I often feel so fortunate that I wasn't alive during such horrendous times...

      Hugs.:))

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  6. Beautiful my friend! So touching!!!
    I have missed you!! Sending love and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missed you too, Sweetie...and your gorgeous Crows!

      Thank you so much.:))

      All my Love & Hugs xoxoxo

      Delete
  7. Yes, very touching and such a fitting tribute. Veterans are special people who deserve so much in return for their sacrifices.

    Hugs to you G

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    Replies
    1. Oh that is SO true, Geraldine...they should never be forgotten.
      Thank you so much...

      Big Hugs back! xoxoxo

      Delete
  8. Amazing and now i will have to go look up Dr. Rivers. wonderful beautiful tribute.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandy...so much!
      I have added a link at the bottom of the post, just in case anyone wanted to learn more about his life.
      Do hope you find it helpful.:))

      Delete

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I really appreciate hearing your opinions...:)