I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My county is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartanâs poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
I always think at this time of year of the young lance-jack whose repatriation ceremony I organised in Split in '96. Two or three days later we had our Rememberance day service and that just made it really stick in my mind. I often think of his daughter who would be about 11 now, although of course I never knew her, and his young widow...RIP, I hope we did you proud!