My First and Last Poppy: Evermore and Nevermore

In Memory of Lance Corporal Frank Herbert Sims.

Royal Army Medical Corps who died on 28 January 1919 Age 34

Son of Albert John and Rosa Sims, of Streatham, London; husband of Frances Sims, of 115, Strathyre Avenue, Norbury, London. Father of Edith and Kathleen.

With the a brief two hour exception last Friday, I have never worn a poppy.

This picture of Prime Minister David Cameron defending arms sales to the middle east while sporting the obligatory poppy sums up why.

The sheer hypocrisy of it all. The terrible losses that echo through the generations in families who ‘evermore’  live with with a hollow place of grief that can never be filled .

All the hypocritical pomp and posturing poppycock clouds the meaning, obscures the truth and makes a mockery of remembrance.

History rewritten as a fairy tale romance of glorious sacrifice.

And so  I return to the outrage and disgust  of Siegfried Sassoon to restore perspective on “the world’s worst wound”.

On Passing the New Menin Gate

by Siegfried Sassoon

Who will remember, passing through this Gate,
The unheroic Dead who fed the guns?
Who shall absolve the foulness of their fate,—
Those doomed, conscripted, unvictorious ones?

Crudely renewed, the Salient holds its own.
Paid are its dim defenders by this pomp;
Paid, with a pile of peace-complacent stone,
The armies who endured that sullen swamp.

Here was the world’s worst wound. And here with pride
‘Their name liveth for ever,’ the Gateway claims.
Was ever an immolation so belied
As these intolerably nameless names?
Well might the Dead who struggled in the slime
Rise and deride this sepulchre of crime.

Begun Brussels, 25 July 1927; finished Campden Hill Square, January 1928
54,889 names are engraved on the gate.

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