The eleventh of November, 2010: cursing and sobbing and thinking of the dead

“In November came the Armistice. I heard at the same time of the deaths of Frank Jones-Bateman, who had gone back again just before the end, and Wilfred Owen, who often used to send me poems from France. Armistice-night hysteria did not touch our camp much, though some of the Canadians stationed there went down to Rhyl to celebrate in true overseas style. The news sent me out walking alone along the dyke above the marshes of Rhuddlan (an ancient battlefield, the Flodden of Wales), cursing and sobbing and thinking of the dead.

“Siegfried’s famous poem celebrating the Armistice began:

Everybody suddenly burst out singing,

And I was filled with such delight

As prisoned birds must find in freedom…

“But ‘everybody’ did not include me.”

– Robert Graves, Goodbye To All That (Penguin, 1965), ch25.

 

 

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One response to “The eleventh of November, 2010: cursing and sobbing and thinking of the dead

  1. November 11th is the day we met, 20 years ago.

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