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Veterans read Poet Laureate’s poem marking Armistice centenary

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Residents, staff and volunteers from The Royal Star & Garter Homes have recited a poem written to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.


A Wound in Time has been penned by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and is part of film director Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea project, which is marking the Armistice centenary on beaches around Britain on 11 November.


It ties in with #RSGHremembers – the Charity’s Remembrance Day campaign which launched last week featuring staff, volunteers and residents from The Royal Star & Garter Homes holding photographs or medals of relatives who fought in the First World War.

Poppies made from the base of bottles are on display in Surbiton

The Royal Star & Garter Homes cares for ex-Servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia at award-winning homes in Surbiton and Solihull. The reading is especially poignant as the Charity was founded in 1916 to care for the severely injured young men returning from the battlegrounds of the First World War.


Unable to travel to the coast but keen to play a part in the project, residents from both Homes read the poem, along with staff and volunteers.


Pauline Shaw, Director of Care, said: “Residents wanted to share reading the poem aloud because they can’t be at the beaches on November 11. I’m delighted staff and volunteers are involved too because the Charity is a family.”

In Solihull residents have painted poppies onto 100 pebbles ahead of the Armistice centenary

Pages of the Sea will see portraits of people who left their communities to serve in the 1914-1918 conflict drawn into the sand at selected beaches, before being washed away by the sea. A Wound in Time will be read by individuals, families and communities on the day.


Residents in the Charity’s Solihull Home have also been inspired by Pages of the Sea to paint poppies on 100 pebbles to mark the Armistice centenary.


A Wound in Time, by Carol Ann Duffy

It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

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