UKArchive ID: 35752Memorial Service 8th November 2015 by prospero
Originally published on November 9, 2015 in Poetry    

Crab and I went to the Armistice Commemoration service in Central Park Gosforth today.

A large ring of mourners standing quietly
Around the small cenotaph;
A flag half-masted;
Children in their youth association uniforms;
Older Army, Navy and Airforce cadets;
Soldiers in red and khaki;
Mute adults;
Crab the Dog shivering
But sitting quietly.

A single gun fires
Then silence;
Two minutes pass then a bugle
Plays the long, sad notes of the Last Post.
After that absurd incongruous prayers
Assert a loving God
But war goes on in Syria, Palestine, Africa, Iraq.
The useless prayers are blown away by the cold wind
And the park returns to football, stick chasing dogs and joggers.
War carries on as usual.

© prospero (corin on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 35752
Archived comments for Memorial Service 8th November 2015
Pronto on 09-11-2015
Memorial Service 8th November 2015
I. too, have written along these lines and had these thoughts. Having participated in and lost comrades to useless, pointless war I see no evidence of the existence of any benevolent deity.
Well expressed sir. I hope the dog didn't suffer too much.

Author's Reply:

sweetwater on 12-11-2015
Memorial Service 8th November 2015
Sadly it was a mistake giving man free will, and hoping his conscience would control things, it's man's own greed that leads so many innocent lives to be lost. I cannot see an end to war ever happening, as man has fought man from the beginning. Sue.

Author's Reply:

Corin on 14-11-2015
Memorial Service 8th November 2015
Hi Sue - free will is I believe an invention by the theologians to try and resolve the contradictions posed by the ideas of an almighty and loving god. As a Humanist I think that we have to deal with the nature of man as it is. Homo Sapiens evolved in the environment of the African Savannah. To survive we had to cooperate as a small group using our brains and manual skills. I think that this means that Man has evolved an innate sense of morality in order for members of a group to live together successfully and build a a larger community. This means that the genes of every member of the group are passed on to succeeding generations However there are situations when cooperation will not resolve the conflict, e.g. when there is a shortage of food or land. This is when tribal loyalties come into play. The members of a group or tribe are more closely related genetically so they are prepared to fight to defend their tribe’s territory.
This works fine in the conditions of primitive societies but in the complex societies of Modern Man i.e. That is Agricultural and Post-Agricultural societies this all breaks down as the tendency of the most ruthless and brutal person (usually a man) to assume power and leadership of the tribe creates the brutality and inhumanity that we see around us today and in the history of the Twentieth Century:-

Edwin Brock

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it.
To do this properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation's scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.
Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see
that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.


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