Remembering Remembrance and Questioning Relevance

Left to right: (back) Tim McInnerny: Stephen F...
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Marc Latham had a services remembrance week here at the Folding Mirror poetry site last week, and debated with himself whether/how to do it before and during the week:

  • should he do one at all
  • was he using it for publicity
  • was it in good taste
  • would it be decoded as nationalistic/warmongering by some
  • or unworthy of a non-service person to write such poetry by others

Not feeling sorry for himself, Latham finds such things a bit of a dilemma, as when you become a working writer/poet, you have to try to find markets to make a living, and try to balance the creative/professional balance.

This of course opens writers who support a cause to criticism, and accusations that they are only using it for publicity and to further their career. 

Marc Latham is always aware of this, and although he does offer his opinions, and try to market his work, he always does it with words he believes in, and doesn’t use marketing strategies that he doesn’t think ethical or fair. 

In the current media climate it seems that having extreme opinions is the easiest way to get attention, but Marc Latham tries to keep to the ethics of the Greenygrey (sorry if that, and all this, seems a plug!), and look at everything from all points of view, and provide a balanced opinion, or a balance to what he thinks is missing or skewed in some debates.

Anyway, after writing his armistice poem, and reading it, and seeing the field of poppies gravatar he used last week, he was reminded of the last episode of Blackadder, which mixed images of the cast going over the top to their deaths with the fields of poppies that would later replace the mud and wire.

It hadn’t been a conscious influence at the time of creating the poem, but the juxtaposition of history and nature, myth and reality seemed very reminiscent afterwards.  So Marc Latham wrote this poem in reflection:

Reflecting on Poems of your Future

inspiration for creation
idea falls to life
new thoughts harvested
consume, digest, scatter 

poem of your future, reflections on the past

analyse, decode, remember
old images recalled
memories return to mind
unconscious reveals mystery

3 thoughts on “Remembering Remembrance and Questioning Relevance”

  1. Hi Mark

    Picked this up fronm Facebook and you appear to struggle the same way I do. I give to the legion, but I never wear a poppy. I also give to Oxfam, heart and cnacer resrearch and I don’t brandish those either.

    My grandfather survived the Somme, but he never spoke about it and he certainly neve considered himself a hero. He also fell confronted the army during the 1926 General Strike, so perhaps that coloured his thinking.

    Whatever, I entertain Rememberance with ambivalence. I’m glad they fought and created a “better” world, but I don’t know where the glory is.


    1. Thanks David. Yes, similar view on charity and war.

      I think we’re drawn to conflict, thinking we need to do something, to make our mark and feel a value.

      It can lead to people doing good and heroic things, but it can also be abused, and lives wasted.

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