Tag Archives: Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day UK Poem

Marc Latham’s new Folding Mirror poem started off less than an hour ago with the idea of creating a war poem, as  the UK’s remembrance day takes place this week. Marc thinks the time taken to create the poem is quite impressive, but maybe you’ll think it shows in a poor poem!? Unlike some of the great twentieth-century war poets, Marc can’t claim to have experienced the trials and tribulations of war, and wrote the poem from media representations.
The first line  of the poem kind of had Bob Dylan’s first line of The Times they are a-Changin’ going through Marc’s mind, which was ‘Gather round people…’ Then ‘shell-like’ emerged between Marc’s ears, and he decided to fill the top half of the poem with double-meaning references to some of the bombs and their materials that soldiers have faced in the last few centuries, with Britain’s two twentieth-century ‘world wars‘ the most redolent; this ends with France’s primary river. France was central to both ‘world-wars’ in Europe.
For your increased enjoyment of the poem, here are some explanations of the slang words found in the first half of the poem:
shell-like is slang for ear.
shrapnel is slang for small valued money: such as pennies, cents and centimes.
bomb is slang for do badly.
powder is slang for drugs such as cocaine.
The second half of the poem focuses on the after-effects of war experiences that affect many combatants through post-traumatic stress disorder. Here’s the poem:
WW1 poets sim - field hospital
WW1 poets sim – field hospital (Photo credit: TaraYeats)
Bombs Away May, Return Another Day
cluster around people
words in your shell-like
powder to brain
paid with shrapnel
you’re gonna bomb
fragmentation in Seine
mortar rains, immortal remains
shrill crater creator
lands in cranium
disorder neurons’ new
rule of thumb
the sound of air-mines
blows sound mind
774 - Neuron Connection - Pattern
774 – Neuron Connection – Pattern (Photo credit: Patrick Hoesly)
Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk).
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Remembering Remembrance and Questioning Relevance

Left to right: (back) Tim McInnerny: Stephen F...
Image via Wikipedia

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