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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Saturday Sanity Break, 3 November 2018 - Lest we forget

The coming week includes the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the Great War. Henry is attending several events where distinguished Australians speak on the subject. The discussion usually includes the basis of the famous poem, the forth verse of which was later described by Rudyard Kipling as '“the most beautiful expression of sorrow in the English language”.

Here is the great poem.

For the Fallen

by Laurence Binyon

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

• For The Fallen was first published in the Times on September 21 1914. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943) wrote it while working at the British Museum, and did not go to the western front until 1916, as a Red Cross orderly. The poem's fourth verse is now used all over the world during services of remembrance, and is inscribed on countless war monuments.

Now two great nations, China and the USA, are undertaking a Trade War, with the principal combatants being. Germany's lack of access to raw materials is sometimes mentioned as a cause of WWI. The overly rigorous treaty imposed on Germany after the Armistice was described at the time by the economist Maynard Keynes (a young participant at the peace treaty negotiations) and likely to bring an eventual renewal of fighting.

Two great armed wars had at least some economic origins, and many devastating costs. We must hope our leaders recall this as we all pause to recall those great struggles and their great costs, economic costs but also social, artistic, costs in virtually every human field of endeavor.


Fiona Prior gets her Queen on at director Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody. More here.

Sporting world.

International cricket involving Australia resumes this weekend with a new Aussie team confronting South Efrica in the first of three one day battles. Later India will be here for several test matches. On current indications we shall confront two worthy opponents without our best two batters, Smith and Warner, previously Captain and Vice-Captain.

There is a lot of talk that the period of disqualification should be reduced so these great batters can be available to play in the tests. I cannot agree with this. Far better at the one year disqualification be completed and our great batters have to fight their way back after showing first rate form.

Image of the week - lest we forget

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