how lovely of you to visit me, thank you. This is my latest post in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge The two prompt words this week, to be integrated synonymously, are dignity and success.
Me and my person did a long walk yesterday, up a v. v. v big mountain, called Great Gable, in the English Lake District. Right at the top, fixed to the summit, is a war memorial my person had come to see. This is the story.
On 6th June 1924 a group of people, who had survived the first world war, took this memorial to the top of this classic hill to remember their friends, who had not returned from the battlefields. They were part of a club that used to meet in Wasdale to go rock climbing, in what was then a remote mountain valley. They were the pioneers of this relatively new sport. The date they choose was the exact same day that George Mallory and Sandy Irving disappeared into the waves of rolling cloud with just two more obstacles to go before claiming victory – Mallory’s third attempt – at the summit of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. They never returned and whether they made it or not is the greatest mystery in the history of mountaineering.
You can read lots more about it in a brilliant book called ‘Into the Silence’ by Wade Davis. He puts the quest to conquer the highest mountains in the world in the context of a generation of men made fearless through the barbarous conditions of trench warfare and the horrific sights they had been through, or known their friends had experienced.
My person wrote this poem about it:
On high hill to honour men
Whose death won freedom
Unveiling the war memorial
As for me, I got up to the summit, then bowed my head in memory of more than 400,000 horses, belonging to the cavalry units, that were killed.
Love Ben xx