Thursday, February 09, 2006

Affianced Officer Material

Listening to something ambient – might be The Orb

No sense of anything now. A mood reference to ‘no weather days’ (© DO deBorde – about 1989). Some nice music in the earphones though – not anything heavy. I did want to start this entry with the heading “War Poem” which was going to be a skewed reference to the fact that I will never have the experiences which are probably necessary to be able to write poems of such power. The BBC have an interesting article about Owen and Sassoon which is probably why the idea is in my head. I am horrified to admit that I have been thinking about war poets simply because what they lived through seems romantic from such a distance. I am not sure the blood, mud and shellshock would be so appealing from close up. I also now feel guilty about what amounts to an internal lessening of the importance of their experiences. The fact is they went through the worst possible times and anything else is not important. Look at this cover for some frame of reference. Not a lot more I want to say on this.

Nothing else seems important to write about though I suppose we should look at these ancient sacrifices as the reason why we should carry on to make everything better still. Seeing the terrible time that people had even within the last 70 years on such things as Who Do You Think You Are, is enough to make one thankful for the mediocrity which we live with today. Jane Horrocks was brought to meet a distant cousin in last night’s show. They were both related to the rich Horrocks cottonopolis family though his direct line was from the mill owners while her line came down through poor mill employees. She made some comment about the levelling of the social strata these days which chimed with Stephen Fry’s observation of how we have it so much easier these days compared with even very recent times. The show also seems to bring about a very tangible compression of time. In A Child’s History of the World by VM Hillyer, the author points out that the time since Christ walked the earth is just 19 consecutive lives of 100 years – he was writing in the twenties. Looking at photographs and constructing the events around those names from the past brings those times close in. As I get older, time seems to speed up but a side-affect of this is the bringing of the past closer and these investigations with professional detail, many pictures and visits to the real places, increases that compression to the extent that 100 years just takes us back to yesterday.

Those dusky shapes in old memories are coalescing like smoke returning to its source, figures in the distance like someone seen through much water are getting closer. They seem to have my face or something like my face or maybe the faces of my children. I see men in battledress, so immune to the trials of their days, that nothing will ever bother them again. There are lone figures in the wilderness, listening for the sound of Loons against the dark forest that ruins down to the lake, pioneers in newly-discovered lands, feeling through the unknown periods of history to find safe places to settle, to bring up children, to lead the life that the many wars were designed to safeguard. And we send more off into the black uncertainty everyday, men in madness filled with fear and building hate of enemies or officers. There is a wordless chant in their heads, a black torrent of sound that mirrors the lack of meaning in their orders. Real pain is a release from the false hurting in the head, the thumping absence of coherence in what they are told to do. Walk into the path of convoys, take a bullet for a friend or scream insults just to make them throw that bottle, pick up that stick or stone, take fire to get home. But never tell anyone you are afraid for that is the greatest shame. They will shoot you for it for they do not see that fear is caused by all this. And still no pardon now.

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