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#2518 - Thursday, July 6, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz


 

 

Ó: Lynsey Kiely [mailto:[email protected]]
Seolta: 06 July 2006 13:17
Chuig: Gabriel Rosenstock
Ábhar: Sunday Independent 

 

Mr Rosenstock, 

 

We are compiling a spread to commemorate the Battle of the Somme which

will be published this Sunday (July 9th). Our focus is on two relevant

poems: In Flanders Fields by John McCrae and The Gift of Love by Tom

Kettle (printed below).

 

We are asking high profile members of the Irish literary circle for

their personal opinions on the poems and whether the poems have any

contemporary relevance.

 

We would very much appreciate your contribution.

 

Kind regards

Lynsey Kiely   086 3109923

Andrea Byrne  0879702846

 

 

 

THE GIFT OF LOVE

by Tom Kettle (1880-9th September 1916) 

 

In wiser days, my darling rosebud, blown 

 

To beauty proud as was your mother's prime - 

 

In that desired, delayed incredible time 

 

You'll ask why I abandoned you, my own, 

 

And the dear breast that was your baby's throne 

 

To dice with death, and, oh! They'll give you rhyme 

 

And reason; one will call the thing sublime,

 

And one decry it in a knowing tone.

 

So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,

 

And tired men sigh, with mud for couch and floor, 

 

Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead, 

 

Died not for Flag, nor King, nor Emperor, 

 

But for a dream, born in a herdsman's shed, 

 

And for the Secret Scripture of the poor.
 

 

 

 

IN FLANDERS FIELDS 

 

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Canadian Army 

 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields. 

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

 

 


 


Dear Lynsey, 

 

Poems that celebrate war are as obscene as war itself. Allow me, kindly, to quote something meaningful on the whole dirty business of war. It's from Volume II of Zen: The Path of Paradox by Osho: 

 

'A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way - his very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy.

 

The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful. Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will  war disappear.' 

 

So, we need to create pools (and poems) of silence, pools of peace – not pools of blood.

 

Warm wishes,

 

Gabriel 

 

Gabriel Rosenstock is a poet, haikuist and translator. Member of Aosdána. His latest bilingual book is Rogha Dánta/ Selected Poems published by Cló Iar-Chonnachta.

 

Gabriel is a frequent contributor to The Nondual Highlights.

 

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