Poems for Remembrance Day

selected by a member of the congregation


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

Red mist, internal adversary, part of the mob,
Peer pressure.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

Know Who, What, Where, When Why and How of which you
Yet giving space for their doubting

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

They also serve who only stand and wait.
The wait may not be stood alone.

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Returning falsehood with falsehood.
Returning falsehood with half truths.

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

Race, Creed, Colour, Religion, Sexual orientation et.al.

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

The too sharp suit, the crack too wise.
The double edged tongue

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

The rose tinted glasses, with some of the tint removed.
To dream the possible dream, with aims goals and objectives

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

Think the problem through and do nothing with the resultant
Plan the whole thing through, do all the research and not
present the findings

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

You are only as good as your next NOT last Triumph /Disaster.
To see both Triumph / Disaster as stepping stones only.

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

The word twisted to give atrocities / propaganda / rumour and
innuendo validity.

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

Prototyping a peace. Designing a work for an ethical answer.
To see it destroyed, misappropriated, abused and start again
with nothing

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

The risk of staking all of your life’s work on something as
ethereal as a game.
The single toss of a coin / roll of a dice

And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

Facing the loss of everything and not a word passes the lips.

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,

To serve their turn or die trying.
When all you have left is heart, nerve, sinew continue to try

And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

To hold the line to the last and so HOLD ON.
The courage of your convictions

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

Open debate not suicide bomb, rabble rouse, mob rule, or riot.

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

Friend / Foe, who turns out to be anything but.
Frieneny, social network, School play ground, world of work

If all men count with you, but none too much;

All people count, but none too much.
Pinning your hopes to a person, place or thing

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

The race does not go to the swift. The race is life long.
The strength of the arm. The strength of the mind / sprit

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Gender! role correction… An ADULT
A Citizen, A member of a community
my child.

A poem written in 1895 by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling

all the other parts by a member of the congregation.


The Kohima 2nd Division Memorial

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

The words are attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds (1875 -1958)

From the four corners of the empire we came
To defend a way of life was our aim
Our today the price we had to pay
Their tomorrows we had to save

For the Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, 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 contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)