Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Flowers of the Forest


I've heard the lilting at the yowe milking,
Lasses a'lilting before dawn o'day,
But now they are moaning on ilka green loaning,
The floo'ers o' the forest are a'wede awae
.
-Lament for Flodden Field.

Did they beat the drum slowly?
Did they sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye
As they lowered you down?
-Eric Bogle.

When the bugle sounds sweet and high
against the cold November sky,
I pray,
For those near Kandahar
this day,
And for other men and other times,
Other wars and other lines
of battle fiercely met.
I do not forget.
When ghosts march in our stead,
there is no negotiation with the dead.
Do not forget.

19 comments:

Steve G said...

Bernita, a superlative post.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Steve.
You are of the company.

James Goodman said...

Great post, Bernita. I'll not forget...

Bernita said...

Thank you, James.
Like Steve, you are one of those who cannot, are you not?
And, like Steve, one of those to whom we owe gratitude beyond measure.

Erik Ivan James said...

Dear Bernita,

On my office wall, I have a collage of memories from my days of service, and Vietnam. Included in it is a picture of the Vietnam Memorial Wall and a letter from a dear friend that says, "welcome home". A copy of this post will today become a part of those heart-treasures.

Thank you.

GWO

anna said...

Ooh Bernita
Did they beat the drum slowly?
Did they sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye
As they lowered you down?
-Eric Bogle

I have never heard this before.
weeping!

what a wonderful post
thank you

Bernita said...

Erik...the thanks are to such as you who were willing to lay their body down.

Thank you, Anna. Am not ashamed to say those lines made me weep also.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Beautiful. Thank you, Bernita.

Marie said...

Wonderful post, moving words.

EA Monroe said...

Thanks, Bernita, for bringing a tear to my eyes. If there was a way to outlaw war, I wish it could be done.

I remember Vietnam, the turmoil wrought. Loved ones lost, loved ones who refused to go back for a second tour of duty and disappeared, never seen again, and loved ones sweating out the draft. I've seen war though the efforts and sacrifices and blood of other brave souls.

Thanks Steve, James, and Erik, and thanks to your children, too, Bernita -- from my son and me.

Ric said...

How absolutely lovely! What a great poem, Bernita, to add to the canon.

Watched the last episode of Band of Brothers last night with youngest son.

Lest we forget.

Gabriele C. said...

So sad and beautiful.

Thank you.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sonya, Marie, Gabriele and Ric.
Just back from the service at the cenotaph.

Bernita said...

Didn't mean to leave you out, EA. Thank you.

scribbit said...

What lovely words. Thanks.

Don said...

Outstanding. Very moving reminder. Thank you.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Scribbit.
The "Flowers of the Forest" in particular. The poem ( which has several verses) was composed by a Miss Eliot ( 1727-1805) and may be based on fragments of earlier ballads.
The piper today - in spite of the chill and the rain - did the lament justice.It is a standard at our Remembrance Day services.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Don. Kind of you.

Patry Francis said...

A powerful and important message.