The Digital Archives of WW1 Poetry needs little introduction. Worthy of a reflective browse and full of deeply moving artefacts.
When souls in the extremes of horrific wars raise themselves to such heights, in spite of all they face, it feels like the least we can do is to take inspiration from their art and take it forward with us today. Remembrance seems as important and poignant now as ever.
Whilst the generations that endured these ironically called ‘Great Wars’ are no longer with us, hearing the children from a WW1 project at last nights Royal Albert Hall Remembrance commemoration it is as relevant now as ever surely that we continue to observe this annual moment.
The children last night reflected the rich tapestry of modern Britain, independent of race, religion, education or wealth. The recent Reith BBC lectures on identity for me were full of hope, teaching us that we adapt, adopt and Evolve culture. We need not be bound by birthrights or the illusion of identity as a fixed inheritance that emanates from our DNA. It is ours to do what we wish with. Sometimes we need not be bound by our history but liberated by it.
The depth of the art left by these poets has been rooted in my reading since early school days. Like the children featured last night, it has provided me a glimpse of insight and inspiration not just at this time of year. I heard from My brother this week that his son aged 10 read ‘In Flanders Fields…’ To his school this week. In an uncertain world when poems from 100 years ago can have that much impact they have got to be worth sharing, preserving ad nurturing for future generations.
Whilst some Veteran associations with dwindling numbers are winding-up their participation, let’s hope the next generations so widely represented today in Whitehall London continue to take up the baton.
This is not to glorify war but to remind of the error and horrors of not only our past but our all too recent conflicts. What is the point of poetry some people ask, read these texts see the hand-written manuscripts and I defy anyone not to be moved and know exactly why these documents are so important. Bless them all.
13th November 2016.