lundi, mai 25, 2009

Remembering Rupert's war


Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! -- - Death eddies near -- -
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.

Rupert Brooke

Memorial Day was a bit of a jumble this year. Although I want to honor the dead, I don't neccesarily want to honor the men and women who decided we should "fix" our differences by sending young people off to fight and die, or come home having left half of themself in some dusty village.

So when I sat down at the computer, or more truthfully, when I sat in a car with a pad in my lap on the way to the town monument where I was to give a benediction, I was conflicted. The pastor of the church where I serve as interim shares praying duties at the VFW service with the Catholic priest.

Perhaps it's because our churches are nearby. Possibly we're the only ones who would do it, or maybe it's because we Catholics and Anglicans look like the older folks think clergy should look (except in my case).

But everyone was lovely. The VFW head was very sweet. The Catholic priest was a cool guy. The town itself seemed to stop and pay respect, with folks crowding the streets and then coming to our parish for lunch.

The only part I really hated was the gun salutes. After the rifles echo had silenced, the children raced towards the veterans and marines, who gave them the empty casings. Nearby, the two monuments to the Rockdale "boys" stood impassively, a witness to lives lost long ago, whose memory still lurks in the minds of the elderly veterans who continue to keep the vigil candles lit.

At lunch I spoke to a British gentlmen who spoke of the quieter way in which Britain remembers its dead, like the poet Rupert Brooke. We lost many young men and some young women in WWI. They lost, oh, pretty much an entire generation, fed into the mincing machines in the bloody fields of France.

1 commentaire:

nroman pease a dit…

yes memorial day. Perhaps not so eliquent, but in the "right on" of the 60'S.."war, huh, what is it good for? Absolutly nothin'!" It amazes me that after so much history, we continue from time to time to subjegate our common sense to the will of a man, rather than questioning siad will as compared to the values of god. home of the free because of the brave, i appreciate the sacrifice while rueing the nessecity.