It’s November 11th, Armistice Day, and we remember all those who died in all wars, soldiers and civilians, in the past and those ongoing. We continue to support those who work for peace.
I find this poem by a German poet, Georg Trakl, very moving. The waste of war, the tragedy, the dreadful contrast with natural beauty are all here, affecting all those involved, whichever side they are fighting for. The last line gives me shivers.
At evening the autumn woodlands ring
With deadly weapons. Over the golden plains
And lakes of blue, the sun
More darkly rolls. The night surrounds
Warriors dying and the wild lament
Of their fragmented mouths.
Yet silently there gather in the willow combe
Red clouds inhabited by an angry god,
Shed blood, and the chill of the moon.
All roads lead to black decay.
Under golden branching of the night and stars
A sister’s shadow sways through the still grove
To greet the heroes’ spirits, the bloodied heads.
And softly in the reeds Autumn’s dark flutes resound.
O prouder mourning! – You brazen altars,
The spirit’s hot flame is fed now by a tremendous pain:
The grandsons, unborn.