For The Fallen

For The Fallen Was composed by Laurence Binyon while sitting on the cliffs between Pentire Point and The Rumps in north Cornwall, UK in 1914.

The poem honoured the World War I British war dead of that time and in particular the British Expeditionary Force, which had by then already had high casualty rates on the developing Western Front. The poem was published when the Battle of the Marne was foremost in people’s minds.

Over time, the third and fourth stanzas of the poem (although often just the fourth) were claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of state.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

But do we learn?
Still allowing our young to be shattered and torn
In fields and skies, on the ground or under it
All because of our greed.

5 thoughts on “For The Fallen

  1. Brighid

    In loving memory of those who served, in loving thought for those who serve, and in loving hope that the day will come when we don’t have to post this again.

    Reply
  2. SamHenry

    I have slim volumes of poetry that came to me from my Great Aunt written by young men at Harvard who went off to war – many not to return. There was such an overriding sense of slaughter of the innocents at that time – it is as if after World War I we were suddenly grown. We knew war was bloody and grim. We knew what we were getting into.

    I am so happy that there are still those who remember the history of this holiday. The shock of WWI has been dampened with time unless you revisit the poems and the pictures and places ….

    Reply
  3. Grannymar Post author

    SamHenry – All those who go to war, on whatever side, are some woman’s sons. We need to remember that.

    Reply

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