Sunday, 11 November 2007

They went with songs to the battle...

Today is Remembrance Day, so it seems entirely appropriate that I post a poem by John Jarmain.

Tel-el-Eisa is Jesus' hill,
Or so they say:
There the bitter guns were never still,
Throwing up yellow plumes of sand by day
And piercing the night across.
There the desert telephone's long lonely line expires,
Ends with a tangle of looping wires
And one last leaning cross.

Jarmain, a World War II poet, was killed by a mortar round in Normandy in 1944. His collection, Poems, was published posthumously in 1945. I now have a copy - bought from a seller on The collection's back cover blurb describes Jarmain as having "an original vision and a lyric voice", and I'd very much agree with that. There are some wonderful poems in the book and they deserve to be much better known.

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