Dedicated to the memory of those soldiers of Scotland who,
Down the ages, have died fighting for the causes in which they believed.
I would also dedicate this poem and page to those warriors not only of Scottish descent but also of all nationalities, who have given their lives for their beliefs.
'Black Watch in action eleven hours today. Severe casualties inflicted on enemy. Own killed: two officers,
twenty-four men. Details later'- Chindit Official Telegram
Another field is fought; a little fight
Not to be famed in chronicles of war,
Not to be noticed in the News tonight
Nor cabled eagerly to lands afar.
Only upon the regimental scrolls
Begun long since, the day of Fontenoy,
Among old skirmishes and lost patrols
They will record tonight this latest ploy.
Now where today the sun blazed overhead,
In the cool evening moving to and fro
Their comrades bury the immortal dead
For ever from the sight of friend and foe,
And round them in the darkness sentries stand
And watch with tired eyes and straining ears,
Even as long ago in our old land.
Their weary kinsfolk leaned upon their spears.
In old wild days, if one should chance to fall,
The son caught up the broadsword of the slain,
Girt on the dirk and the accoutrements all
And saw to it the ranks were whole again;
So now, as sure as when in ancient days
Brave youth espoused the patriarchal feud,
Still, in the fashion of our modern ways,
The oath of Aberfeldy is renewed.
We know not yet the comrades who are down,
Who are the two and who the twenty-four
That shall not see again the country town,
The pithead or the cothouse or the moor,
From whence they came to fill their father's place,
To keep the long heroic line unbroke,
The seed, the fruit, the harvest of their race,
The latest warriors of a fighting folk.
From such small battles was a Kingdom built,
By such bold forays was a Border held,
By men in hodden gray or tattered kilt
Who knew defeat, but knew not to be quelled;
And they that fell today were of a blood
That cannot all be drunk by greedy earth,
And whoso fell in honour where he stood
Fulfilled the purpose of his warrior birth.
From the book Soldiers of Scotland written by John Baynes
With John Laffin
Published by Barnes and Nobles Inc.
By arrangement with Brassey's (UK) LTD
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