Friday, November 11, 2005

Epitaphs of the War

It is Armistice Day today. 87 years since the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front that ended the Great War.

Try reading Kipling's Epitaphs of the War.

I often think of the bleak 'Common Form'.

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

It is difficult to read the heartbreaking 'A Son', knowing that Kipling lost his own boy in the trenches.

My son was killed while laughing at some jest. I would I knew
What it was, and it might serve me in a time when jests are few.

I read that Hilaire Belloc lost a son, Louis, in the First World War and then another, Peter, in the Second. which led him to quote Herodotus.

In peace sons bury their fathers; in war fathers bury their sons.

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