Remembrance Sunday this weekend, which invites something by Owen or Sassoon, but let’s have the great ones stand aside for once. I came across this poem in the ‘Letters’ column of the ‘Daily Mail’ some years back. I never heard of D.R.Merryfield before or since, and I daresay the first eight lines offer no more than the usual awkward sincerity of newspaper verse. But the last four lines, hm…
Horseguards is where we always meet
Ten thousand pairs of trudging feet
Assembling there in cold November
Just to prove we still remember.
‘Lest we forget’ the epitaph
That draws us to the Cenotaph,
The ghosts of an army of slaughtered souls
Are there with us as the drum rolls.
‘Come back Peter, come back Paul’
Said the childhood rhyme on the nursery wall,
But Peter and Paul, with a million more
Never came back from that bloody war.
(in ‘Letters’ column of Daily Mail, first week of November 2000)