Sunday just gone was remembrance Sunday, a chance for us to gather and remember the fallen of the two great wars and all the ones still falling today in the not so popular wars somewhere around the globe and those yet to fall in the wars still to come, although presently we won’t be remembering those latter ones but, for want of a better expression, we will be looking forward to those moments when we can gather together and remember. But we can be assured that day will come. This coming together, civilian shoulder to civilian shoulder, has become the sticky glue that binds us and, if you will allow a well worn cliché, the thing that makes Britain Great, or so they say. I’m not so sure.
On this day of which I pontificate in my usual manner, a program of events was thrust into my hand as I stamped the hard rubber floor of the playground for circulation and watched the uniformed children playing on the swings, climbing up and down the frames, uninterested by the bitter cold and the events soon to interrupt their play. The cries and whistles from the cub master summoned the little soldiers into fidgety lines. Their disappointment of being nudged from play into the contemplative rows would soon be replaced by their own feelings of camaraderie. Ok we don’t want to be here but at least we are together in our not wanting to be herer. Now the only enemy was the watchful burning eyes of their parents as well as god’s representative in this particular playground.
As I flicked through my leaflet I noticed that god featured heavily in this, my Sunday afternoon. Should have guessed that when I first clocked the chap in the flowing linens. And so it was that in between the brass band emptying their instruments of sputum onto the ground where the children once played and will very soon play again, we were assured that our men would not be forgotten in this god occupied world.
The denomination of the VIP’s gathered required that the small congregation of people respond in unison to their petitions to god, so thank goodness we had our scripts. The result however for me was a particular unease in listening to the rhythmic chanting like tones. Suddenly I was struck with a devilish thought that inspired in me a cheeky little grin akin to the children pressed into place in front of the cenotaph. The musical undertones in the solemn contrived phrases were reminiscent of something satanic. I suppose I’ve been spoiled by films like Rosemary’s Baby and other such books. By the way I make no apologies for mentioning Satan in this particular blog. I think it only fair that god’s arch nemesis get a mention. Seems fair don’t you think?
…and through it all the children poked and prodded, smiled and giggled in all the wrong places, not I suspect from thoughts of the fallen but of getting back to the the playground and the addition of a promised supply of ‘well done’ biscuits and juice.
Well done children. See you next year…
Church bell rings that children should fall
From playgrounds dust they’ll rise anew.
Coaxed and prodded to heed the call,
Pressed erect by mother’s dew.
Moments silence, a flag protests,
Held stiffly by a pristine child.
Forgotten playgrounds lay bereft
While they remember unknown. Killed
But they will stir the dust again
Of playgrounds far from fields, frozen.
When trumpets sound they’ll flee from men,
To swing and slide they’ve chosen.
Let us play. Our lives are blessed.
Not pressed into fields, hopelessly churned.
Let playgrounds ring with a childhood caress,
A song that begs for our return.
Then, a man I stand on frozen waste
That playgrounds dust not fall.
That you should not see my face
And know your destiny at all.
Instead, let battle cries be lost,
Smothered by playground songs
And church bells ache from winter’s frost.
No longer heard by playful throngs.
…Thanks for reading, dearest one.