Thursday 25 October 2018

For the Fallen

I have enjoyed many great sunny beach days with my family here: the kids surfing and body boarding, my wife enjoying a cuppa, the dogs impatiently pulling us towards a walk along the coast path.

But sometimes I like to come here on my own. For me it is a "thin place". In the cold, grey winter months, free from distractions and when I can feel the cold wind and spray against my skin it feels as if the spiritual is closer to the physical; the barrier between the two is somehow thinner than other places. I feel closer to my own thoughts, closer to the hidden universe, closer to the souls that have moved on.

Recently I learned that a poet called Laurence Binyon knew this place,  Polzeath.  I like to think that he also knew it as a thin place.

I am given to believe that on a cliff top overlooking Polzeath beach in 1914 he first started to write "For the Fallen".  You may recognize some of it.

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres, 
There is music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted; 
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.



PS - Please be kind, be honest and drive safely.

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