Wednesday Words: 24 July 2013

A few of you know of my passion for war poetry; when I tweeted out my Silent Sunday post three days ago, I quoted:

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old…”

That was because the plane in that photo, a DC3, actually served as a supplies aircraft in World War 2; at the ‘fly past’ I witnessed, we were exhorted to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice – then, before, and since.

But did the ‘war poets’ only ever write poems about war? I’ve often wondered about this – and then, just today, I found this:

The Little Dancers

Lonely, save for a few faint stars, the sky
Dreams; and lonely, below, the little street
Into its gloom retires, secluded and shy.
Scarcely the dumb roar enters this soft retreat;
And all is dark, save where come flooding rays
From a tavern window; there, to the brisk measure
Of an organ that down in an alley merrily plays,
Two children, all alone and no one by,
Holding their tattered frocks, through an airy maze
Of motion lightly threaded with nimble feet
Dance sedately; face to face they gaze,
Their eyes shining, grave with a perfect pleasure.

Robert Laurence Binyon (1869 – 1943)

It seems to me that, just as he could portray such vivid images of war, with all its horror and consequences, and, at the same time, honour the fallen, Binyon could give us insight into touching social scenery totally detached from war; here, clearly a part of an era now long gone, and yet some time-honoured activities survive!

Thank you for reading.

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