8th November 1914
The Dorsets record “A quiet day. Nothing unusual.” This kind of diary entry makes me happy. I am glad Frank gets a respite.
I feel ambivalent about much of the recent outpourings from the British media but Simon Armitage’s Culture Show Special was utterly compelling.
In the programme, a series of mini documentaries bookended with poems by Simon Armitage, we see the poet handle a poppy from the war, bleached white by light and by time. He returns to the “Thankful Villages” with the men who returned to their lives, alive. He laments the silent grief of a mother, brought to life by letters home from her five dead sons. He wriggles through escape tunnels dug by bread knives through German loam. He swims with a nurse in the sea by the light of Venus and the memory of a thousand dying men.