Thursday, 29 December 2011

December 2011, a Memory of August 1968 - For Vaclav Havel

















They woke us from our tents
In the darkness before dawn
And gave us each a candle.
They had crouched over the radio all night
And guessed the worst.
We made our way to the water’s edge
A row of tiny lights on the dark shore.
To the mournful sound of a single flute
We stood, silent and bereft
Looking into the black night
While hundreds of miles away
Another kind of darkness rumbled forward
Over the frontier
Grinding the dreams of Spring
To dust.

We thought hope lost
And could only offer our sad tribute
To those who fought for freedom.

But hope and freedom are seeds that will not sleep
Small bright shoots split stone
Shatter concrete
Their progress more inexorable
Than any trundling tank.
The brave gardener whose fearless tending
Of improbable seedlings
Gave us back belief,
Now returns himself to the nurturing earth
And reminds us
That when the darkness seems most complete
Dawn is not so far away.

© Elizabeth Soule

Vaclav Havel funeral: World leaders pay respects

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Elizabeth Soule is a retired Head Teacher and I belong to Poetry Aloud, in Bury St Edmunds: 'Poetry is how I process my reactions to the world.'