Welcome to this week’s edition of Poetic Beats with Howard Bond and Davy D recorded on the 13th of November 2017 on Red Kite Radio.
In this show, we remember an important part of the British Armies effort in the First World War, the Horse, and look at the poem, The Silent Volunteers (To the horses that have fallen), written by Lieutenant Leonard Fleming. We also discuss the legendary First World War horse, Warrior, who was the focus of the book, film and stage play, Warhorse.
If you are having difficulty accessing the recording, a text version of the poem is provided after the sound bar.
To hear this week’s offering please press the arrow to the left of the sound bar below.
The Silent Volunteers (To the horses that have fallen)
No less, real heroes than the men who died
Are you who helped the frenzied ranks to win;
Galloping heroes – silently – side by side,
Models of discipline.
You, too, had pals from whom you had to part –
Pals rather young to fight, or else too old –
And though the parting hurt your honest heart,
You kept your grief untold.
Thus in the parting have you proved your worth,
As you have proved it time and time again;
You, the most human animal on earth –
Nobler perhaps than men.
Nobler, perhaps, because in all you did –
In all you suffered you could not know why;
Only, you guessed – and did as you were bid –
Just galloped on – to die.
Unflinchingly you faced the screaming shell
And charged and charged, until the ground was gained
Then falling mangled – suffered simple hell –
And never once complained.
There, where your life blood spilled around you fast –
Lying unheeded by the surging van,
You closed your great big patient eyes at last.
And died – a gentleman.
Lieutenant Leonard Fleming, Queen Victoria’s Rifles.