Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday's Photo

It's still a bit big, but I couldn't resist trying it out.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Langemarck at Ypres

William Wilfred Campbell

THIS is the ballad of Langemarck, 
  A story of glory and might; 
Of the vast Hun horde, and Canada’s part 
  In the great grim fight. 
It was April fair on the Flanders Fields,
  But the dreadest April then 
That ever the years, in their fateful flight, 
  Had brought to this world of men. 
North and east, a monster wall, 
  The mighty Hun ranks lay, 
With fort on fort, and iron-ringed trench, 
  Menacing, grim and gray. 
And south and west, like a serpent of fire, 
  Serried the British lines, 
And in between, the dying and dead,
And the stench of blood, and the trampled mud, 
  On the fair, sweet Belgian vines. 
And far to the eastward, harnessed and taut, 
  Like a scimitar, shining and keen, 
Gleaming out of that ominous gloom,  
  Old France’s hosts were seen. 
When out of the grim Hun lines one night, 
  There rolled a sinister smoke;— 
A strange, weird cloud, like a pale, green shroud, 
  And death lurked in its cloak. 
On a fiend-like wind it curled along 
  Over the brave French ranks, 
Like a monster tree its vapours spread, 
  In hideous, burning banks 
Of poisonous fumes that scorched the night 
  With their sulphurous demon danks. 
And men went mad with horror, and fled 
  From that terrible, strangling death, 
That seemed to sear both body and soul 
  With its baleful, flaming breath. 
Till even the little dark men of the south, 
  Who feared neither God nor man, 
Those fierce, wild fighters of Afric’s steppes, 
  Broke their battalions and ran:— 
Ran as they never had run before, 
  Gasping, and fainting for breath; 
For they knew ’t was no human foe that slew; 
  And that hideous smoke meant death. 
Then red in the reek of that evil cloud, 
  The Hun swept over the plain;   
And the murderer’s dirk did its monster work, 
  ’Mid the scythe-like shrapnel rain; 
Till it seemed that at last the brute Hun hordes 
  Had broken that wall of steel; 
And that soon, through this breach in the freeman’s dyke,
  His trampling hosts would wheel;— 
And sweep to the south in ravaging might, 
  And Europe’s peoples again 
Be trodden under the tyrant’s heel, 
  Like herds, in the Prussian pen.  
But in that line on the British right, 
  There massed a corps amain, 
Of men who hailed from a far west land 
  Of mountain and forest and plain; 
Men new to war and its dreadest deeds,
  But noble and staunch and true; 
Men of the open, East and West, 
  Brew of old Britain’s brew. 
These were the men out there that night, 
  When Hell loomed close ahead; 
Who saw that pitiful, hideous rout, 
  And breathed those gases dread; 
While some went under and some went mad; 
  But never a man there fled. 
For the word was “Canada,” theirs to fight,
  And keep on fighting still;— 
Britain said, fight, and fight they would, 
Though the Devil himself in sulphurous mood 
  Came over that hideous hill. 
Yea, stubborn, they stood, that hero band,
  Where no soul hoped to live; 
For five, ’gainst eighty thousand men, 
  Were hopeless odds to give. 
Yea, fought they on! ’T was Friday eve, 
  When that demon gas drove down;  
’T was Saturday eve that saw them still 
  Grimly holding their own; 
Sunday, Monday, saw them yet, 
  A steadily lessening band, 
With “no surrender” in their hearts, 
  But the dream of a far-off land, 
Where mother and sister and love would weep 
  For the hushed heart lying still;— 
But never a thought but to do their part, 
  And work the Empire’s will.
Ringed round, hemmed in, and back to back, 
  They fought there under the dark, 
And won for Empire, God and Right, 
  At grim, red Langemarck. 
Wonderful battles have shaken this world, 
  Since the Dawn-God overthrew Dis; 
Wonderful struggles of right against wrong, 
Sung in the rhymes of the world’s great song, 
  But never a greater than this. 
Bannockburn, Inkerman, Balaclava,  
  Marathon’s godlike stand; 
But never a more heroic deed, 
And never a greater warrior breed, 
  In any war-man’s land. 
This is the ballad of Langemarck,  
  A story of glory and might; 
Of the vast Hun horde, and Canada’s part 
  In the great, grim fight.
Wilfred Campbell was a Canadian Poet. Many Canadian troops fought and died in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, otherwise known as Passchendaele. The fighting around Langemarck was just one part of the long bloody battle in 1917.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

T-1 week

We headed out to our new place last night to check on the progress of the house - everything is nearly finished, only the paint touch ups and the baseboards to finish - yay!

Thankfully, we've slowly started to tie up loose ends with the house, mortgage and movers from Calgary.  All the stresses are slowly dissipating and now I can concentrate on chilling with this little man and packing up our apartment - not the most fun task, but it won't be too awful.  After looking around a bit, it's really amazing how much one can accumulate in such a short while.

The funny thing is, this apartment is the first place that Pete and I were able to live together, and although we were only here for 11 months, I've been here longer than anywhere else since joining the military.  Hopefully once we move, we'll stay put for a good couple of decades.

I should also mention a big thank you to everyone back in Calgary who is packing up all my stuff and meeting with the movers - that's not a fun task either.  Once it all arrives, I think we'll have a great time going through all the boxes and getting reacquainted with all my belongings / all the extra stuff my mom threw into the mix.

Just for fun I thought I would leave you with a picture that Pete was pretty excited to take.  Apparently William has followed in his Father's footsteps and has begun studying Arnold's Encyclopedia of Body Building - like Father, like Son.