I find these words of poet Stephen Spender encouraging and fitting as we pass once again through our time of remembering soldiers and others who served during worldwide conflicts and bear in mind those who have fought in other battles, and those who are still enmeshed in fighting now. I shared the last verse in last Sunday's sermon, here it is with the first verse added:
The Truly Great
I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history.
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
Stephen Spender, "The Truly Great", in Michael De-la-Noy, The Field of Praise, (Religious Education Press, Oxford, UK: 1968) page 56.