Remembrance – Once crimson poppies bloomed out in a foreign field

Once crimson poppies bloomed
out in a foreign field,
each memory reminds
where brutal death was sealed.
The crimson petals flutter down,
still hatred forms a thorny crown.

For in this present time
we wait in vain for peace;
each generation cries,
each longing for release,
while war still plagues the human race
and families seek a hiding place.
           
How long will human life
suffer for human greed?
How long must race or pride,
wealth, nationhood or creed
be reasons justifying death
to suffocate a nation’s breath?
           
For everyone who dies
we share a quiet grief;
the pain of loss remains,
time rarely brings relief:
and so we will remember them
and heaven sound a loud amen.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) Words © 2012 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Metre: 6 6 6 6 8 8 Tune: LITTLE CORNARD

A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day

A poem for Holocaust Memorial Day, 27th January, and going forward. Today we still need to remember our human capacity for inhumanity, that the Holocaust took place in a democratic country with a democratically elected government, and still within living memory. Remember, many of the perpetrators saw themselves as ‘Christian’.


1 As we remember holocaust,
in horror disbelieving
the history of the human race,
we share each other's grieving;
God purge us of hypocrisy,
of all our self-deceiving.

2 Our language is inadequate,
unfit for the expression
of hatred that we visualise,
humanity's confession;
we hurry headlong into hell,
we witness love's regression.

3 The deepest, distant agony
that throbs through all creation,
the silent tears that quietly fall
in every generation,
are signs of our humanity,
our need for re-creation.

4 God give us strength to make a pledge
to move beyond contention,
to see, in each, humanity.
Through greater good intention,
God, move us toward a purer love,
a gracious intervention.

Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
Words © 2003 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England copyright@stainer.co.uk . Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.




God marks no ending, only new beginnings – Hymn/Poem – Methodist New Year – and other times of change or new-ness or loss

God marks no ending, only new beginnings,
until the consummation of our lives;
God keeps no count of losses, nor of winnings:
we move through grace, the holy spirit thrives.

So as we go beyond this time, this setting,
rememb’ring all the laughter and the tears;
we go with God in faith, so not regretting
the moments shared, the hopes, the dreams, the fears.

Though parted for a while, we travel onward,
not knowing what the future has in store.
This phase will close, the spirit draws us forward,
we’ve tasted love, but God has promised more!

Words © 2006 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk. Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

11 10 11 10 Suggested Tune: LORD OF THE YEARS

Poem for VE Day

My Father died 47 years ago. He had served in the 8th Army seeing action at El Alamein. This is not meant to be his story but reflecting, while there was sense in celebration when bombs stopped dropping on England, perhaps we might celebrate in 2020 with care. I guess my father, and others like him had not been demobbed. He didn’t talk much about his war. He had firm friends. Some had died. When he came home he had a nervous breakdown – post-traumatic stress? Some years later he was chronically and then terminally ill dying at the age of sixty. My mother died at the same age one year later. How much of this was an aftermath of war I’ll never know. I do know that in the fifties it was common to see men who had lost limbs not being lauded as paralympic athletes. Some things have changed…thank God…

They sent him home, a broken man,
each nerve and sinew torn or strained
and what was celebrated then
he recognised as little gained.

The trauma of that noise and strife,
the shattered buildings, tear torn lives,
with stunned, dismembered memories,
and, though he struggled, each survives.

The shell-shocked post-traumatic stress,
his past so vivid, sharpened, bright,
has left him stumbling through a void,
toward a mist enshrouded night.

*****************************

And now as we look back this day,
into a past that some have known,
may we revere the ones we see,
and recognise the grief they own.

And deeper truths must still be learned:
that no dispute is worth a life,
that peace and justice, kindness, love,
must bring an end to earthly strife.

© Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020

AUDIO – © Andrew Pratt 4/5/2020