Saturday, November 12, 2011

On The Memorial Statue of the Rainbow Division by James Butler

At the Summer Exhibition 2011 Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London.

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see….”

Lamentation 1:12

In transit from Scottish foundry
to Picardy battle field –
the Croix Rouge Farm Memorial.
A bronze statue of an
unblemished soldier
carrying a dead comrade
laid across his arms.

In London -
a brief station of remembrance.
It forms an awkward cruciform of bodies,
commands its own vortex of silence
among the summer visitors
who come and go
through intermittent July rains.

I stare up at this bronze cenotaph.
And as it rains again
I see the bayonet
silvered with water
slung over his shoulder
and follow the soldier’s bowed head down
to the cradled body.

An offering.

And I imagine his slow insistent march South
to that remote farmhouse
its undisturbed fields
clogged with mud
where only a few will come.

The rain is beading down
the bronze bodies
Water falls from the bandaged head
and unmarked dog tags.
And suddenly I hear
the chimes of Fortnum and Masons striking eleven
and the roar of traffic on Piccadilly.

Click here to take you to the website about this statue