I discovered Martin via Twitter and I’m glad I did because Memoriam is a great book of war poetry. I purchased this book on Kindle, so the impact of the cover is lost but the simple red poppy on a white background is very iconic.
The poetry describes the true horrors of WW1, Martin does not hold back on the detail of what the soldiers went through in the trenches and the lasting impact on those that survived. It does not glorify war.
From the very first lines of the first poem ‘I Flinch’ you are given a stark insight into the destructive nature of war.
“When shells shriek their shrill songs,
Smashing plumes of earth and bony sinew,
Into the foul air.
But Martin doesn’t just write about the experience of the men. The poem ‘Oh Pigeon!’ gives a somewhat odd perspective on the experience of a messenger pigeon, saying that I really liked this poem and its eye in the sky view.
“Oh pigeon! What hells await you,
As you fly.
Fly from our fields of slaughter.”
Every poem is very readable, and every poem will make you stop and think. We can all sit in our cosy homes in the free world because of what was endured by our forebears. We can buy a poppy in November and pin it to our chest. We can stand for a minute’s silence. But in this book is harsh, graphic detail which will really make you appreciate what was sacrificed for our freedom.
“Lest we forget that they fought for us,
The twinkling stars of unborn babes,
Of generations yet to be.”
– Lest We Forget, Martin Rowe