October News From No.fifty6 - Autumn Blows in with Stories to Tell
Posted on 31st October 2019 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.
Mary Borden – Sonnets to A Solider:
No, no! There is some sinister mistake.
You cannot love me now. I am no more
A thing to touch, a pleasant thing to take
Into one’s arms. How can a man adore
A woman with black blood upon her face,
A cap of horror on her pallid head,
Mirrors of madness in the sunken place
Of eyes; hands dripping with the slimy dead?
103 years ago, The Somme battle raged on for the 4th month. Mary Borden was running a field hospital close to the Somme Front. A young British officer turned up at Mary’s hospital, a make-shift collection of huts and tents. The officer was accompanied by his dog Rex, and was looking for a lost company of soldiers. Mary described their first meeting: ‘My apron is stained with mud and blood; I am too tired to take it off. My feet are burning lumps as I hobble to open the door. A young officer stands there. He too is splattered with mud; his face is haggard. He introduces himself. He is Captain Spears of the XIth Hussars…’ It was the beginning of a great and enduring love story.
This October there is peace, though the wind has been blowing and though some days are sunny and mild, others see endless rain. The landscape sometimes brooding, sometimes benign. Capricious but beautiful.