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Becoming a CatholicReflectionsNear St Omar    March 22, 2017

 

Near St Omar
 

In quiet, secluded sunken lane
      that knew the breath of morning sun
which kissed the world awake.

                               
Where in whose grassy banks
      the moles and voles
did wonder why the earth did shake,
     with tramp of boot and clack of hoof.
And shrapnel stripped the inoffensive leaves
     from inoffensive trees.

                               
And Corporal Brown was there.

                               
He never saw the newborn son
      whose infant eyes first blinked upon
 a maddened world – some three weeks on.
      A bullet down the lane had stung.

                               
And Corporal Brown stayed there.

                               
Kind nature healed the wounded lane
       and furry creatures once again
burrowed in the softened ground but
       vaguely wondered why they’d found
the bayonet shaft -
       The rusted round.

There, to that mended, tortured way,
      the trembling peace a visit paid,
but stayed there not for long.
      For in another, later war
frightened creatures filled with awe
      listened to the earth react,
to tramp of boot and clat of track.
      And screaming Stukas filled the air.

                       
A younger Corporal Brown was there

                       
He never knew the father’s face
      that once looked out upon this place.
Nor felt the splinters’ searing rain
      that crushed his skull and spewed his
                           brain.

                       
Both Corporals Brown are there.

                       
Together, from that little way,
      father, son, near one again.
Nearer now then ever were,
      before the lane,
near St Omer.

 

 
Prayer for the Pope Minimize

 

 

 

God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Francis, your servant, the pastor of your church. May his word and example continue to inspire and guide the Church and may he and all those entrusted to his care come to the joy of everlasting life. Amen.

 


 

 

 
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The area around the town of St Omer in Northern France saw much action in both World Wars.   I wrote this poem in May 1980, just after the 40th Anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuation.
 
Peter Gibson

 

 
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