Wednesday, 11 November 2015

For Ever Young

For Ever Young

This youth that fades away
And burns in war’s fierce fire
Lifts up its head where only youth has sway
And blooms anew in land of Hearts’ Desire

One moment’s pain, then joy
The Great Gates open wide
And he who passed them as a happy boy
Knows not grey years, nor grief’s returning tide

Ah Youth, for ever young
May this grim woe of ours
Look through the dark and see where you have flung
Upon our road bright portents and fair flowers

The photo was taken during the summer, when the poppies were flowering in the fields. I was reminded of their symbolism, and wanted to make a tribute of our own.

The poem is by Pte Charles Sandford, 2/5th Gloucester Regiment. He was a patient at Wharncliffe War Hospital, in Sheffield, on the 16th October, 1916 (where my Grandmother played the piano to entertain the patients). It was written almost exactly a hundred years ago during the First World War, in my Grandmother's autograph book. My sister has kept the book, and recently photographed its pages. She went as far as researching some of the names, and discovered the author of this poem was killed less than a year after it was written, at Arras, on 22nd April, 1917. Just one soldier amongst hundreds of thousands who remain for ever young.