Wednesday, 11 November 2015

As we remember...

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, November 2014
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, November 2014
...a poem from a DLI soldier who survived the war.

‘Now to be still and rest…’

Now to be still and rest, while the heart remembers
All that it learned and loved in the days long past,
To stoop and warm our hands at the fallen embers,
Glad to have come to the long way’s end at last.

Now to wake, and feel no regret at waking,
Knowing the shadowy days are white again, 
To draw our curtains and watch the slow dawn breaking
Silver and grey on English field and lane.

Now to fulfil our dreams, in woods and meadows
Treading the well-loved paths, - to pause and cry
‘So, even so I remember it,’ – seeing the shadows 
Weave on the distant hills their tapestry.

Now to rejoice in children and join their laughter,
Tuning our hearts once more to the fairy strain, - 
To hear our names on voices we love, and after
Turn with a smile to sleep our dreams again.

Then – with a newborn strength, the sweet rest over,
Gladly to follow the great white road once more,
To work with a song on our lips and the heart of a lover, 
Building a city of peace on the on the wastes of war.

Percy Hugh Beverley Lyon, 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, 1918

We have two diaries written by Captain PHB Lyon at the Record Office, one at the beginning of the war, from which many of the photos in the Second Ypres exhibition have come; and one from his time as a prisoner of war in 1918. After the war, Lyon went on to be headmaster at Edinburgh Academy, then Rugby School. He died in 1986 at the age of 92.

The poem has been taken from the memoir, Hugh Lyon 1893-1986, produced by his daughters, Elinor Wright and Barbara Lyon in 1993, published by Laurence Viney.

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