John McCrea’s poem, ‘In Flanders Fields” undoubtedly is the most well remembered poem emerging from WWI and hauntingly reminds us of why we remember the tragedy of this brutal war.
The S.A. National Society, by way of publishing this poem, wishes to remember and pay tribute to the supreme sacrifice made by all of the armed forces and support services.
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We received the following poem from Gillian v.d. Heijden who sent us the poem below that was written by her late mother Frances Emily Katz, at the time of the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1918.
She has also added an interesting footnote about her brother who went on to become a strong anti war activist.
Scarlet the Roses
White is the damask
Gleaming the silver
Scarlet the roses symbolic of blood
Suave are the manners,
Deep are the pockets
Where finance meets finance
They say for man’s good.
Servile the waiters,
‘Yes men’ of dictators
Who grovel and smirk where the honest rebel
These are the men truth must sweep from her tables
When life could be heaven they serve to us hell!
Oh where is our manhood that keeps women weeping?
And lets the babe starve from the impoverished breast
While strumpets go strutting the mother’s lie sleepless
Can find for their sorrows no solace or rest.
Scarlet the roses symbolic of bloodshed
Sick are the hearts of tired mothers through years
God is compassionate,
But will He forgive men
For drenching the earth with their blood
and their tears?
Oh God, take our hoardings,
our Godless Dictators
And give to us courage for freedom and truth
Unfurl the banners, march onwards Christ’s soldiers
The world still holds promise
Not death for our youth!
Scarlet the roses
The candles have flickered
The tables are silent and gone is this day
Teach us, O God, full truth of Thy wisdom
For only through love
Can Peace come to stay.
By Frances Emily Katz (nee Ashton) on the Peace Treaty 1918
My brother (son of F.E. Katz born Manchester 1935) Kendrew Lascelles (matriarchal family name) is renowned for his anti-War poem THE BOX which was sung by John Denver of Denver Colorado. Lascelles was then playwright for Denver Theatre.1970-73. The poem sold four million copies and helped to topple the Nixon Vietnam war machine. The statue of John Denver stands as a monument on the mountain above the City of Denver Colorado; beneath the statue is a plaque of Lascelles’ poem The Box. Kendrew Lascelles is found on You Tube under his name and the title THE BOX; John Denver is simultaneously found