On this ANZAC Day it behoves us to consider again the memories that those thousands of returned servicemen and women are unable to share with those of us who’ve never been where they went. Siegfied Sassoon, the famous soldier poet of World War 1, put it very powerfully in his poem, ‘Suicide in the Trenches.’
“There was a simple country boy
who laughed at life through mindless joy,
slept soundly through the noisome dark
and whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches cold and glum,
with crumps and lice and lack of rum,
he put a bullet through his brain.
No-one spoke of him again.
You smug faced crowds with kindling eye,
who cheer as soldier lads march by;
sneak home and pray you’ll never know
the hell where youth and laughter go.”
As the inscription in the Hyde Park War Memorial puts it, “Let silent contemplation be your offering.”