I’ve been a busy Mayor recently! I visited the fantastic Broadway Community Gardens and met some ‘Guerrilla Gardeners’ on a mission, very Punk Rock! More on that another week as I’d like to talk about what they’re up to over there as I think it’s project that perfectly encapsulates Frome’s independent, proactive and rebellious nature perfectly.
I spent some of Friday evening with the Frome Writers Collective. A group of committed literary enthusiasts and studious disciples of the written word. Their reverence and respect for prose was obvious and the reason they all come together to share advice, recommend the next slab of escapism or listen to fascinating guest speakers tell their stories of writing their first novella, their first book deal or the feelings felt once their first book was published and everything else writers experience on their journeys. If you’re an aspiring writer or somebody who prefers to live as much of their lives vicariously through the pages of another’s journey, then get your butt to the next collective meet up! I have nothing but respect for authors as writing this column seems about as much concentration as I can stomach. Find out more here: https://fromewriterscollective.co.uk/
I had the honour of being asked to march to The Memorial Theatre with our veterans, army cadet force and other organisations in the Remembrance Parade to deliver a wreath on behalf of Frome Town Council. If you haven’t or can’t make it down to the memorial to read the various messages attached to the wreaths, I’ll repeat mine here. It reads: “On this day and always we remember those who gave all of their tomorrows for our today. May the love and potential in our town continue to flourish within us, and not be extinguished in war. Peace and health.”
As a former Army Cadet in Frome platoon, it was a real honour to be asked to once again dust off my drill and get in step to the beat of a drum. The service was beautifully organised and arranged, with many moments of poignancy. It was a spectacular turn out of all ages so thank you for joining us but of course you can honour and pay your respects in any way you choose fit and it’s just as valid. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all involved in the parade of all roles and responsibilities, far too many to mention but you all did yourselves, your organisations, and the town proud.
I’ve been exploring a lot of poetry recently and I’ve been really enjoying finding the diamonds in the rough (there’s an awful lot of rough isn’t there!) And I thought this one would be fitting to end this weeks column on. A graphic and blunt account from the frontline. This one pulls no punches.
“Dulce et Decorum est” is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I and published posthumously in 1920. The Latin title is taken from Ode 3.2 (Valor) of the Roman poet Horace and means “it is sweet and fitting”. It is followed by pro patria mori, which means “to die for one’s country”.
‘Dulce et Decorum Est’
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, –
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support. Lest we forget.