Friday, 1 August 2014

August 1914

UK tv channels, newspapers and magazines are falling over themselves to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, the War to End all Wars, World War I.

Here's my two cents. A couple of quotes, one from a German poet, the other from a British poet.

I am lying here amid murder and assaults, 
in a blue sea of rockets, 
in the wind's sighing, 
beneath turbulent night skies, 
in green waters full of snails and red worms, 
waiting death, putrid and swollen, 
amid the dying screams of horses, 
amid the dying screams of men, 
I heard them, 
calling out of the dark, 
hanging in the wire, 
thus do birds sing who are ready to die, 
lonely, pining away, 
in the spring of their lives.

He lay groaning about twenty yards beyond the front trench.
Several attempts were made to rescue him.
He had been very badly hit.
Three men got killed in these attempts;
two officers and two men, wounded.
In the end his own orderly managed to crawl out to him.
Samson waved him back, saying
he was too riddled through and not worth rescuing;
he sent his apologies to the company
for making such a noise.
You can try and figure out which is which.  If it matters.

The quotes are from Robert Graves and Anton Schnak.  My point was supposed to be that there was no difference which side of the line you were on.  Having wiki'd Schnak I find his later support for Hitler somewhat sullies the point but history is like that.  Sometimes people don't learn the lessons of the past.

For Rennie from Daddie before I go + fight the Almonds 15/10/14
from a family Bible
pictured (l-r) Ted, Daddie, Renee and (front) Lucy Sleep

the Graves and Schnak lines are quoted in David Hendy's excellent book, Noise - A Human History of Sound and Listening

No comments:

Post a Comment