Thursday, July 10, 2008


I speak with the Argonaut much more frequently these days, and we look back across space and time, across the parade square which is no longer there, across the staff room that is no longer what it was, across the days that look as if they were turning to evening and night, across the seasons of what may yet prove to be an indian summer.

And we count the poppies, row on row. Perhaps they should be some other flower though. As John Barnes's elegant fairy-tale has it:

One for the morning glory;
Two for the evening dew;
Three for the man who will stand his ground;
And four for the love of you.

We count them all. It is a story of countability, if not accountability. It is an interesting story, with many little threads, some of which look large to some participants, some of which look small, and all of which seem to be of different colours to different people. It begins with 'once upon a time' like most fairy-tales do, and we do not yet see the 'happily ever after'.

Or perhaps, it all began when we collectively started losing our heads. Old heads, younger heads, most of those with the blue and gold. Former heads were not exempt; uneasy lies the head which wore a crown (or more than one head, or more than one crown). I watched, a passer-by, a chronicler, a man with everything archived. He watched, a man to be trusted, a clever man, a man with everything to live for. And we counted, and continue to count.

We have not seen such heavy losses ever. It is the end of the age of men, and the beginning of the age of the machine-gun, the trench, the barbed wire and the pillbox. Verdun and the Somme. "In Flanders fields, the poppies blow..." We haven't written an epitaph yet, because there is yet time for more to come.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best is yet to be?

Thursday, July 10, 2008 7:37:00 pm  
Blogger * the mad monk of melk * said...

O...Danny Boy, the pipes the pipes are calling...

Friday, July 11, 2008 4:15:00 am  

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