The Fall: A Poem

A few weeks ago I had the honour of seeing a Spitfire in the air not far from my house. She was a newly-refurbished bird with less than 30 hours flight time, but the sound of that Merlin engine remains unchanged from how it did at the height of wartime! It was a sight (and sound) to remember.

I’ve also recently been missing England a lot. Three years since I’ve been to that green and pleasant land… so lately I’ve been enjoying a lot of patriotic music, and have been listening to the part of my heart that will always be in England.

Anyway, these two events really influenced me to share this poem with you today; full of aviation and British nostalgia, it’s one from my archive which I hope you will enjoy.

The Fall

Aflame, I fall

A burning carcass beside me

The wings that served me nobly

Now shrapnel plummeting to the sea.

We spiral wildly

As we did in triumph

But now we are the fallen

Soon to be silent.

He came from the sun

A ferocity I never knew

Until we burned like the rays

Which disguised him from my view.

I look around

As she falls down, my noble bird

Twisted metal, shrieking

The saddest sight in the world

She soared like a lark

Like an angel; and stung like a bee

Not meant to fall, though now she does

Further away from me.

Further and further

To the sea, my little Spitfire

Burning like the fury of her name

Ablaze, like a pyre.

And she is gone, her fury now extinguished

It was only through her spirit

That I became distinguished

And I mourn her,

Even as I spiral and burn

Towards the same ruin

Which awaits me in my turn.

My aeroplane gone,

My eyes fall to the north

To the green and pleasant land

Undefiled by war

England, my home

Keeper of my heart

Yet I fall in exile

England and I apart.

The chalky cliffs

Stand resolute, and beckon

But I won’t reach them

They are too far, I reckon.

I feel England’s song;

Her heartbeat in my very own

Mine failing, hers goes on

I pray for evermore.

And I pray now

For a final return

To those shores, those cliffs

For which I yearn

I do not need

To be recalled in thought or name;

But only for England to accept me back

And I will feel no shame.

 

© Adair E. R. Jacobs, 2018

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The Empty Platform: A Poem

The following poem was written early last year, and once again I was fortunate enough to have the generosity of Michael from Forties Photos to help me make this post a special one! His photos have such a gorgeous atmosphere to them and I encourage you to check out his work and website through this link. Although it took me ages to get this poem out into the world, finally it’s here… and I do hope you enjoy it.

The Empty Platform

The whistle blows, and what can I do

Now that it’s time for us to part

I’ve run out of time to give to you

And the platform is as empty as my heart.

You know me as a man of duty

And I’ve never known a woman so true

You know all that I would say; and truly

If I could stay, it would be for you.

But my future is calling me away,

With a voice I must not ignore

My journey is set, at least for today

Until this train brings me back once more.

Text © Adair E. R. Jacobs 2017

All Photos © M. A. Cain, Forties Photos 2017

A Solemn Occasion

Fashion may be seen as vain or temporary, but it can communicate so much. I’ll let this outfit speak for itself. Lest we forget.A Solemn Occasion

 

Hometown Heritage

I’ve always thought the lakefront of my town of Barrie was beautiful, but this autumn it’s looking even better. Just ahead of Remembrance Week, the city (in partnership with nearby Canadian Forces Base Borden) opened its first Military Heritage Park. The park occupies a stretch of prime waterfront land and puts it to unparalleled use. As you will see from the following photographs, it’s a military park like no other– using symbols and images of wars past rather than military hardware to make an impression.

My mum and I (and dog) braved what was a rainy and unpleasant day to see the newly-opened park

A view across Kempenfelt Bay, with a section of sand reminiscent of perhaps the Normandy beaches in the foreground

Although not the largest city, Barrie has quite a rich military history. A reserve regiment, the Grey & Simcoe Foresters, is located in town; and the aforementioned Base Borden is only about twenty minutes away. Many residents of Barrie have fought historically for Canada. Most recently, a 24-year old graduate of a high school within view of my house was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

Barrie was one of the communities chosen as a ship’s namesake in World War II. The connection really is a local one… the HMCS Barrie was laid down in a shipyard barely forty minutes’ drive from Barrie

The Military Heritage Park does a splendid job of drawing on Barrie’s wartime heritage and Canada’s as a whole. There are no aircraft or military vehicles staring you down as you walk through the park; the approach is much more subtle. And as much as I love traditional gate guardians, I’m really glad that the planners chose the design they did.

Continuing on past the sandy areas, visitors will pass a row of new oak trees beside a series of gardens. Although at first sight these appear to be simply a complement to the landscape, like many things in the park they hold something deeper. These oaks are born from a handful of acorns brought back by an Ontario soldier who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. They are Vimy Oaks.

Amazing that these flourishing trees are descended from a landscape decimated by war

Alongside the Vimy Oaks there are three gardens. Each has a special significance; for example, one references Canada’s role in the liberation of Holland in the Second World War through its plethora of tulips. Each garden also features a large etched metal sculpture, cementing the theme of each one.

The bed of tulips; grim in the month of November, but poignant nonetheless

A memorial commemorating Canada’s recipients of the Victoria Cross through all conflicts up to World War II

The Military Heritage Park, while celebrating hometown heritage, also keeps its eye on the country as a whole. In the middle of the park stands a simple obelisk bearing the names of Canada’s Victoria Cross recipients. The Victoria Cross is the highest honour awarded for bravery in the UK, and in Canada as well.

I was surprised to learn that there were so many recipients of the Victoria Cross, being that it is such a high honour

The obelisk is a sharp and resolute object amidst the changeable lawns and gardens of the park

For me, the park’s greatest triumph is the section dedicated to the trench warfare of World War I. A small area of ground has been dug up into troughs and craters; recalling the enormous craters and holes that scarred France and Belgium from 1914-1918 and which indeed remain in places to this day.

The scene is barren and grim and very effective in bringing to mind the battlefields of World War I

A near-full view of the park; craters in foreground, then the interpretive gardens and city skyline beyond

As you’ve seen from this post and as I learned from my visit, Barrie’s Military Heritage Park is unlike any other. It is a place of peace and solemn symbolism; and although it’s in the very middle of the city, it feels like a world all its own. It feels how I imagine the military cemeteries in France feel. Secluded, but not lonely. Old, but not forgotten. It accomplishes all it should, by encouraging introspection in its visitors and thereby kindling true remembrance.

The park is a long-awaited addition to Barrie (having been announced a decade ago), and it was well worth the wait.

Lest we forget.

 

Autumn’s Whisper

Autumn is a season with a most distinctive flavour. More than any other, it whispers of what is to come– while the sun shines through the falling leaves, cold winds whisper of the winter that is not so far away. That’s what I love about autumn; there’s more to it than meets the eye. With this outfit, I tried to celebrate autumn in all its beauty and mystery.Autumn's Whisper

 

Autumn’s Whisper by adairjacobs on Polyvore

A military-styled red coat almost acts as a neutral in this outfit; it and the tan pants and oatmeal-coloured scarf are livened up by the luxurious floral blouse. Boots and a bag in a russet hue are classic standbys, and gold jewellery adds visual interest to contrast the simplicity of the rest. A wonderful green nail polish and vintage cat-eye sunglasses finish the outfit nicely. The differing textures, varying but related hues, and depth of character are what make this ensemble autumnal!

The Curse of the Heart: A Poem

It seems I am long overdue to post some poetry! Unfortunately working hard at a job equates to slacking in other areas; and I haven’t written any poetry in a long time. But today that changes! I hope you all appreciate the following effort. Like all my work, it is nothing if not heartfelt; and it speaks of the rich and varied emotions we cannot help but experience as human beings. Enjoy.

The Curse of the Heart

I swear that I have never felt

More a curse than the human heart

When there are trials and passions spelt

It is no more whole but torn apart;

And filled with a raging ocean tide

Of fear and love most unconstrained

The wild wash dashes the calm inside

The heart does face to the storm in vain

But face it, it does, so resolute–

The human heart, a soul acute.

© Adair E. R. Jacobs, 2017

The Fashion Formula

Fashion is one of the most accessible and expressive art forms around, and yet most of us still have a distinctive style which guides everything we wear. There is a multitude of options when it comes to fashion, but we all have specific likes and dislikes which we tend to stick to. The term “fashion rut” might apply– but I’d rather call it a fashion formula!
The Fashion Formula

 

I certainly have a very distinct fashion formula; which pretty much stays the same except for subtle variations and details. For me the details are what matter and make fashion interesting. I’d rather wear simple pieces and eye-catching accessories than anything inordinately bold. The above outfit keeps to my fashion formula– jeans, a simple classic top (often black), and something military; in this case, a gorgeous double-breasted olive blazer. I like to keep my shoes practical with either block heels or flats, because you never know what weather or obstacles may get in your way! Finally, I always wear jewellery, preferably vintage, and of course my beloved aviators. I have a habit of breaking sunglasses, but thankfully I haven’t broken my aviators yet! This outfit demonstrates that even when sticking to a formula, fashion can be distinctive, unique, and fun– as it’s meant to be!