Key Word:- CHOOSE
Title:- Vergissmeinnicht. "Forget me not"
Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
I was brought up reading the poets of the Great War, Brooke, Sassoon, Graves etc. The sickening sites of mechanized warfare in the 1914-1918 First World War, left no sense of honour, especially in the pen of Wilfred Owen. The poem embodying what Owen calls the old lie of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est Pro-PatriaMori' (it is great and glorious to die for ones country) was written after a gas attack. I am not a pacifist, but Owen's poem needs to be read by every warrior and every old man that is part of sending younger men to war.
Today in Normandy, 1944, another poet, Keith Douglas was killed in action. In 1940, he wrote the poem, which is the title of the 'Whisper' for today, where he speaks of coming again to an area on the battleground, where previously an enemy had tried to kill him. The unburied corpse had lay in the open for three weeks. The closing stanzas of his work reads as follows:
Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.
We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.
But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.
For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.
As men in the 21st Century seek for their emasculated manhood, their stolen status of warrior and adventurer, we must remember the experiences of old, lest we too become the deceived, in thinking death in battle to be a most glorious one.
The character of ‘Williams’ in Shakespeare’s Henry V, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt, speaks unknowingly to the hidden king who is secretly and disguised, wandering among his frightened host and remarks to him that,
“ If the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make when all those legs and arms and heads, chopp'd off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place'- some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument?”
Friends, death is terrible and in battle, people’s lives are never lovingly disposed of. Let me ask you today then, my warrior friend, “Is the cause you might sacrifice yourself for a good one, a great one, a right one? Make sure it is, for in battle, there will be blood.”
Listen:- But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8-9
Pray:- Jesus, we are the worthy cause you died for. Help us then to find and fight in all Your worthy causes today, and if needs be…..