The Great War–and…

28 02 2011

Barbed wire in a Lorraine wood

Today Frank Woodruff Buckles died at the age of 110. He was the last United States veteren of WWI.

each second seemed an hour, each minute an eternity

he did not see combat but he was over there and survived. And then he was in the Philippines in WWII, a civilian POW, and survived.

Footfalls echo in the memory/Down the passage we did not take

I have no right to this history–and I, with a bit of shame, was thinking today,  of how all my obsession with WWI is like looking into a distorted mirror. And really, what truth can be found in that sort of reflection?

Just unhurried ghosts are there
Hanging in the wire

I read about this old man, who I never met, will never meet, did not know of, only now I know that he died.  I have no right to his history but I miss it.  I never even knew it existed and now it has passed.

until that day no man had, during those many months since the first battles, stood on that same ground in daylight and lived

all time is unredeemable

—-

quotes are by T. S. Eliot, PJ Harvey, Private E. N. Gladden

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2 responses

3 03 2011
randomcandor

Hi Jennifer- Thanks for commenting on my blogpost (yoga/mental focus/happiness/evolution of depression). You’re a much more prolific blogger than I. I like your posts on war. I can feel your twin sensations of sadness and fascination. I wonder if there will be a day when we’re (mostly) past blowing each others’ children into mangled twists of flesh. Hope so.

5 03 2011
jen

The blogging is a kind of addiction for me–one readers get to suffer along with, I suppose.
Thanks for your comment–I would like to wish for no war but I am at heart a pessimist and I’m not holding my breath.

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