I attended the Aldergrove Remembrance Day ceremony as usual and was leaving a bit early, because of the cold wind on my under-dressed body, when I heard the single plane and then the bi-plane fly over. They got my attention as I rounded the corner just east of the gathering and I continued looking east in the sky and saw two eagles over the crowd. That prompted the poet in me to give it another go this year when I got home, so here is today’s piece in honour of those honouring the dead.
We still remember –
Thousands of us, all across the land
In rain and snow, sun, wind and cold
Thinking of those who risked their lives, or died
In mud-filled trenches and desert sand
Living and dead in mad embrace of armed conflict
And its tearing, searing, hate and death.
Today we remember the honoured dead
Who shaped the world we live in now
Only free because they are not
They are gone – and those who returned to home and bed
Have carried the haunting prison of remembered tragedies
Forever in their minds, and buried deep inside.
Overhead, three small, symbolic planes roar by
Banking against the cold, brisk air
One lone, poignant fighter follows
Then a World War I biplane plows the sky
Slowly circling the gathered crowd below
Who watch and ponder what it all had meant.
And then – two majestic eagles soar and circle round
Close around each other – a dance of life above those
Who gather to remember the dead
The many, many dead of conflicts far away on foreign ground
Not yet part of earth’s forgotten, ancient history
As life goes on for we who live…
And we remember, still.
J.A. Sclater, Aldergrove