Today is, along with Veteran’s Day, and Remembrance Day, and Armistice Day, also St. Martin’s Day, that is, the Feast of St. Martin of Tour. It is Martinmas, which in many places marked the end of the harvest.
St. Martin is also patron of infantrymen.
I once held the skull of St. Martin in my hands during a visit to Tours. But that’s another story.
Here is, for your poetic pleasure, …
“Martinmass” by John Clare written on 11 Nov 1841.
‘Tis Martinmass from rig to rig
Ploughed fields and meadow lands are blea
In hedge and field each restless twig
Is dancing on the naked tree
Flags in the dykes are bleached and brown
Docks by its sides are dry and dead
All but the ivy-boughs are brown
Upon each leaning dotterel’s head
Crimsoned with awes the awthorns bend
O’er meadow-dykes and rising floods
The wild geese seek the reedy fen
And dark the storm comes o’er the woods
The crowds of lapwings load the air
With buzes of a thousand wings
There flocks of starnels too repair
When morning o’er the valley springs
I would love to hear this read by someone with a Northhamptonshire accent.
BTW… starnels are starlings, which group together in great “mumurations”.
You can see these each year over Rome as they migrate. Recently, I’ve spotted some smaller groups around Madison.