Friday, November 11, 2011

"Give me the time"

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Ottawa, 2009

Give me the time to lie and dream,
To lull the hours with reverie
And set my sluggish fancies free
Upon the tide of beauty's stream.

Give me the time to rest my mind
From thoughts of massacre and war,
To think awhile of life, before
The chance is left too far behind.

Give me the time to seek for truth,
Wherever it may be concealed,
And time to savour of its yield
Before I lose the eyes of youth.

Give me the time to fill my heart
With draughts of love and ecstasy,
To pierce the core of life and be
The favoured sculptor of its art.

Give me the time to gain release
From war's insistent ache and stress;
Give me a glimpse of happiness
That I may know the ways of peace.

John Cromer, "Give me the time," Poems of the War Years: An Anthology. London: Macmillan and Co., 1950.

This is my great-grandmother's brother, Lew Jack Melhado. His sister had already left England for Canada, as part of the British Women's Emigration Association, when he joined The Northamptonshire Regiment, 6th Battalion. He died in France, on 1 July 1918, aged 23, at Pozieres, the Somme. Between 21st March to 7th August 1918, when Pozieres was lost and re-taken by the British, 14,669 men died.

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