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Family Memories

battle-of-the-somme

I found this poem by Mary Louise Haskins (1876-1957), former Economics lecturer, stored away with my grandfather’s death certificate, and it made me wonder if it held any special meaning for him, for he carried it with him always.

For he was one of the lucky one’s who returned from the “Battle of the Somme (World War One).  He was not a religious man, and I never heard him talk of his experiences of the war, only to say, many friends died needlessly.

It is said, Princess Elizabeth, our present Queen showed it to her father King George VI who used the first part of it in his 1939 Christmas Broadcast to the nation.

The words were engraved on a plaque, fitted to the gates of King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Chapel.

The Queen Mother who was buried at Windsor Castle in 2002, had it read out as part of her state funeral.

These words can also be found engraved in stone within the “Private Royal Chapel at Windsor.”

These words with a simple meaning and yet so poignant…

LAID OUT IN ORIGINAL FORMAT AS MY GRANDFATHER HAD:

The Gate of the Year published in 1908.

I said to the man stood at the gate of the year.
Give me light that I may tread safely into the unknown.
He replied, go out into the darkness and put your hand
into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than the known way.

So I went forth,
And finding the hand of God,
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills,
And the breaking of the day in the lone east.

So heart be still
What need our little life.
Our human life to know,
If god hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife,
Of things both high and low,
God hideth his intention.

God knows. His will.
Is best. The stretch of years,
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our perfect vision,
And clear to God.  Our fears
Are premature. In him,
All time hath full provision.

The rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise.
God’s thought around his creatures
Our mind shall fill.

The Somme: Wikipedia Image

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