2010-11-11

Remembering

On this Remembrance Day I'd like to share my father's most powerful poem from his experience of World War II:

Casualty
by E. Arthur Hopkins

The Lord God spared my flesh the tearing steel
And, in the crashing tumult of our strife,
When I so often called His Name, I’d feel
His guardianship upon me, sheltering my life.

The Norman beach was spotted with our dead,
Yet I passed on and fought the bitter way,
Unbleeding on the bloodstained roads that led
From Greye-Sur-Mer through Camille and on to Bray.

On, ever on, each life bought grudging mile,
Some broken hamlets our reward for days.
Still safe I passed through Caen, then paused awhile,
Before we crushed the Wehrmacht at Falaise.

There never were a prouder band of men
Than we Canadians as we crossed the Seine,
To trap their thousands in ‘The Ports’ and then,
Storming after them, to win again.

Safe through it all, and safe again
For all those endless miles I’ve had to roam
To bring me here, to know at last the pain
Of stricken men. Sore hurt! Dear God, sore hurt at home -- at home!

The Lord God kept me safe. I wonder why?
She said she couldn’t wait. Too long away, too far.
The Lord God shelters best the men who die.
Their home is faithful, where the little crosses are!
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