The Men of Kent March On Find!
John Blanford was a soldier poet, inspired by the
Apart from the text on the book jacket of his Poems collection, I have little information about John Blanford.
He was born in
He saw further military service with The Buffs (The East Kent Regiment,) and, by the Second World War, he gained the rank of Major and was awarded the DFC.
His poems like Yangtse Flood and The Temple in the Clouds reflect the fact that between the wars he lived and travelled widely on business in North China and
However, from other titles like The Pilgrims' Way,
Thus, when at Zutphen Sydney fell of old,
I think his dying eyes saw not his Queen
Dappling the water-meadows' glowing green...
O pearl, O Penshurst scene!
As a war poet he is more straightforwardly patriotic than Sassoon, Blunden or Aldington, yet a poem like It Is No Use questions whether the political landscape of post- WW2 Britain was worth fighting for.
I think that Man of Kent is one of Blanford's most effective poems. In it, the soldiers who have fought in eigthteenth and nineteenth campaigns rise from the distant battlegrounds where they died to march with the Buffs of the twentieth century:
-Queer garb, newfangled muskets- but they bore
Our Dragon badge, 'twas our blood manned their veins:
And where they marched and fought we marched beside,
Filling the files left blank by them that died.
And when at last the bells of victory pealed
And bugles sounded "No parade today"
-Still the old soldier's cue to fade away-
We melted like the dawn-mist on the Weald
29 October 2009 from Rob Illingworth
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