Remembrance 1991

Caught up at a crossroads, somewhere, nowhere.

Forbidden by authority and made

to watch the trooping parade in

a rain slicked corner of a river delta

some muddy outpost of the sometime empire

on which the sun was disinclined to set.

This ragtag mis-stepping platoon

of old soldiers, toy soldiers, today soldiers

wannabe tomorrow soldiers

ranked, orderly and sober

tramping past in medals, colors, boots

their memories, imaginings and thoughts of

remembrance to men long dead

who never could imagine 

the life inhabited by these uniformed marching;

who never would imagine fighting, dying, defending

the life exhibited by these uninformed watching.

In violence, statesmen claimed their youth,

their breath, strength, hopes, dreams

their loves, their future: 

In ceremonial tribute now,

we appropriate their sacrifice

And claim it was for us.

Momento Vivre 2011

They are all shades now,

Who promised faith

At the going down of the sun 

And in the morning

None remain who know

Or can remember

As grey heads bow

Imagining men

Walking talking writing 

Hearing the larks

And guns in Flanders fields.

A whole community keeps faith today

More with one another than 

With the shades of forgotten men

Lost in the time’s mist, history's haze,

And the limits of our willing capacity

To imagine. 

 © Philip Knight 2018