The Fallen

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Explorations:

Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes

Regeneration by Pat Barker

For the Fallen, a poem by Laurence Binyon, published on 21 September 1914 in The Times

Gerald Finzi, Romance for String Orchestra Opus 11

Chris Wood, Come Down Jehovah

Benjamin Britten, War Requiem

Fly me to the moon

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4 thoughts on “The Fallen

  1. The impression left on my mind was a firm thumb print in play dough. Such a thumb print, if you have ever tried, does not fade too quickly. It holds for a while. It made me think, it reduced me to tears, it touched my heart. I read in the Ypres WW1 museum about a peace movement in 1898, on realisation that Nationalism was spreading across the European continent, tensions were rising. I read about the increase in the race for land and money, the greed of governments wanting more resources. I wondered how far we have really come. I read propaganda on how we should choose our side, engage with the conflict. The news, the posters, reports given to encourage the hate and the fear. I wondered how far we have really come. I read about refugees fleeing Belgium, how they flocked to ports in France and queued for ferries to Britain. How they paid fishermen with small boats to take them over when there seemed no other way. I wondered how far we have really come. I read about boys fighting wars of men, been caught up in the melee, no longer seeing the purpose just fighting each other for their lives. I wondered how far we have really come. Tears fell from my face as I watched a group of teenage boys in turn watching the retelling of trench stories by young actors of their age. I wondered how far we have really come and I prayed.

  2. The grave belonging to 15 year old Valentine Joe Strudwick, is the part that really sticks with me. A boy who felt compelled by political rhetoric to lie about his age, to go and fight, and then die, alone in that field far from home. I struggle to line up the fear and utter horror of such a pointless war. That was one hundred years ago. In some ways the world has shifted, there are many positives that we often overlook under the deluge of bad news thrown at us by a myopic media, thirsty for clicks and views. Through shared understanding we now recognise that once the differences are shaved away, that ultimately we are all just the same, playing football on a war ravaged field on Christmas day. Recent political rhetoric feels like it is picking at these old wounds though. Language designed to displace and divide has been normalised once more. There is no hyperbole in respecting the lessons from history. Only tolerance and shared futures prevent war, driving humanity towards a common and collective good. Isolationism and the gentle surrender to nationalistic fervour erode the real sacrifice and progress achieved by those brave men in that simple green field in Ypres.

  3. You might enjoy the exhibition currently in the Martin Luther king building at the dock- beautiful paintings mixed with audiovisual content including some very striking war poetry. Really moving, and free! Sells itself as an augmented reality exhibition too, which is quite exciting.

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