11 November 2008

Armistice Day

It's Veterans' Day in America, which used to be called Armistice Day; today we mark 90 years since the ending of World War I. My grandfather was a sniper for the marines, and fought at Belleau Wood.

Lots of sightings of "In Flanders Fields" on the blogosphere today; I'll offer "The Ladies go Dancing at Whitsun," my favorite WWI song/poem (though I'm also very fond of "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda"):

Dancing At Whitsun

(Trad / Austin John Marshall)

It's fifty long springtimes since she was a bride

But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide

In a dress of white linen and ribbons of green

As green as her memories of loving

The feet that were nimble tread carefully now

As gentle a measure as age do allow

Through groves of white blossom by fields of young corn

Where once she was pledged to her true love

The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow free

No young men to tend them or pastures go see

They have gone where the forests of oak trees before

Have gone to be wasted in battle

Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones

Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons

There's a fine roll of honour where the maypole once stood

And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

There's a straight row of houses in these latter days

Are covering the downs where the sheep used to graze

There's a field of red poppies, a wreath from the Queen

But the ladies remember at Whitsun
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

As sung by Tim Hart & Maddy Prior

1 comment:

Marjie said...

gave me chills