The anniversary of Vimy Ridge calls up the ghosts of all those lost then… and now.
No Reruns, No Returns
for les revenants
Those who died once from influenza
a century ago, who now are pulled to
a hell realm of eternal return—are you
repeating, reliving the hex of time as if
doomed to replicate the old story you
already lived through? Once is enough.
No need to hover. You have suffered
plenty. You’ve loved and lost all there
is to lose. You have won. You’re one
with all that is. Retreat now to your own
abode. Return home, spirits. You’re no
longer needed here. You are no longer.
Although we honour you and thank
you and remember you each and all,
all those who’ve been called back, called
up from dimensions we can only guess at—
caught in the Great War and carried away
or carried off in the aftermath of influenza—
by this spell, we tell you to go back to
your own time, out of time. Just in time.
May you depart. We don’t know, how can
we tell? where your home is. It’s not here.
Know this virus is not yours. Know this
war is not yours. You are here in our era
by error, by slippage, a rip. You’ve mis-
taken the signage, the spelling in wrong
turns. Now return, by this charm, retreat.
You are dispelled, dismissed, dismantled,
released to soar free from the trance of time.
May you travel well. May you fly free.
Sir Arthur Currie.
And my poem for Vimy Ridge, “The Stand of Oak”: