November 11, 2006

Remembrance: "Nothing forgotten"

Not as well known as John McCrae or erstwhile Canadian (by virtue of his service in the RCAF) John Gillespie Magee, Jr., Canadian poet, writer, and radio broadcaster Mona Helen McTavish Gould deserves to be remembered as well, not only for the lyrical poem she wrote about her brother, Lt. Col. Gordon Howard McTavish of the Royal Canadian Engineers, after he was killed in 1942.

This Was My Brother
by Mona Gould (1908-1999)

This was my brother
At Dieppe,
Quietly a hero
Who gave his life
Like a gift,
Withholding nothing.

His youth....his love....
His enjoyment of being alive...
His future, like a book
With half the pages still uncut --

This was my brother
At Dieppe...
The one who built me a doll house
When I was seven,
Complete to the last small picture frame,
Nothing forgotten.

He was awfully good at fixing things,
At stepping into the breach when he was needed.

That's what he did at Dieppe;
He was needed.
And even death must have been a little ashamed
At his eagerness!

From Tasting the Earth, 1943, via my battered paperback of the apparently equally out-of-print A Pocketful of Canada, edited by John D. Robins with wood engravings by Laurence Hyde.


On Wednesday the kids and I watched the National Film Board movie, John McCrae's War: In Flanders Fields; highly recommended for learning more about the man behind the poem, as well as the horrors of war (though suitable even for young children).

We're off shortly for services at the town cenotaph, and then at Legion Hall.

No comments: