Silence; a Sonnet for Remembrance Day

As we approach Remembrance Day I am reposting this sonnet about the two minutes silence, which is now published in my book Sounding the Seasons.

So here is how it came to be written. On Remembrance Day I was at home listening to the radio and when the time came for the Two Minutes Silence. suddenly the radio itself went quiet. I had not moved to turn the dial or adjust the volume. There was something extraordinarily powerful about that deep silence from a ‘live’ radio, a sense that, alone in my kitchen, I was sharing the silence with millions. I stood for the two minutes, and then, suddenly, swiftly, almost involuntarily wrote this sonnet. Since I first posted it, here, and on audioboo, it has become the single most viewed and heard, of all my posts, and strangely, looking at the stats I have found that almost half of my total ‘views’ have been from Germany, something that I find strangely moving. I also notice many ‘views’ and listens from Afghanistan. You can hear the sonnet, as I recorded it  minutes after having composed it, by clicking the ‘play’ button if it appears or clicking on the title.

The striking image above is ‘Poppy Day’ by Daliscar and the one below is ‘Silent Cross’ by Margot Krebs Neale


November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.

Silent Cross by Margot Krebs Neale


Filed under Current affairs, literature, Poems, politics

10 responses to “Silence; a Sonnet for Remembrance Day

  1. Craig E Anderson

    I love that poem, Malcolm, and I have shared with our poetry group here in Florida. Thanks one more time for the enrichment I have received from your poetry books and from Faith, Hope and Poetry, a book I turn to repeatedly for its insight into the poetic imagination.

  2. Malcolm, I’m not sure if you are aware that your Podcast and audio links are no longer abled for download, etc. There’s a message stating that you’re out of data usage or something like that.

    Your site may have an unlimited data option but if not, SoundCloud does. I’ve used SoundCloud for years and am pleased with it. Our church would be delighted to sponsor / pay for the annual unlimited data usage. We’d be honored. And sorry for this avenue of communication, I couldn’t find a contact me option. I’m FaceBook friends with you and have provided my contact info in your confidential messaging there.

  3. Pingback: We Shall Not Sleep Though Poppies Grow – Barnstorming

  4. Pat Conneen

    We’ll always remember the Remembrance Day we spent in London. Thank you for reposting this. Your last line is especially moving.

  5. Heather Seargenat

    Yes…that last line is the heart gripping one of all the heart gripping lines…Oh, dearest God who dies for love of us…How can it be?

  6. Profoundly expressive, thank you Malcolm

  7. Pingback: A Bleak Remembrance – Barnstorming

  8. Pingback: 11.11 – Fiberjoy

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