Saturday, 25 April 2009

On not forgetting

We are reminded each year by the indomitable spirit of those who march of many things; I think of the fact that try as they may ANZAC continues to be more of a community observance than a political one.
As the particular political concerns move out of popular consciousness these people keep marching. All of us are particularly aware of the enormous cost of war...and of the brevity of our attention to the cost paid largely by the young and those who lack influence for the decisions of the powerful. What senseless waste, what total insanity.
Wilfred Owen, the poet of The 'Great' War wrote in one of his finest poems The Parable of the Old Man and the Young, of the travesty of who makes the decisions and who pays the price

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,

And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,

Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,

But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps

and builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.

When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,

Neither do anything to him, thy son.

Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,

A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.

But the old man would not do so, but slew his son,

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

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