Today is VJ Day (15th August), the day set aside to remember the cessation of hostilities in the Far East and the lives of those who fought and died in the conflict and those who sacrificed their freedom and very often their lives in the notorious POW camps in Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Japan and elsewhere where they endured almost unimaginable deprivation and hardship.
To mark the day I thought I would share a poem written by my dad in February 1943 while he was imprisoned – along with the other officers of his regiment – at Keijo in Korea, modern-day Seoul.
On waking late at night in prison
Faintly the dim green lights
Outline recumbent forms who vigils keep,
Like ancient stone-carved knights
In dusty crypts, muttering in their sleep.
“We are the living dead
Having no present tense, only a past,
Which is our daily bread,
Sustaining us as long as memories last.
“We are the seeing blind
Holding onto battered images in shaking palms,
Dark glass covers the mind,
The dog ‘Remembrance’ sits and begs for alms”.