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Never Surrender!”

Karl Constantine FOLKES 1935 (Portland)

Never surrender!
And never ever give up!
Life is a struggle!

Nineteen Forty One.
World War Two haunts everywhere.
I am six years old.

The war is raging .
British soldiers guard our soil.
A schoolboy wonders.

Holstered with a gun.
My father in uniform.
He is the police.

Adults beckon all.
Loudspeakers blast out harshly.
“Put out the lanterns.”

Lights are off again.
We snuggle under our beds.
A “game” we must play.

A Hitler image.
Molded out of wax and clay.
“I made it myself!”

My father scolds me.
Carving Hitler out of clay.
“You should know better!”

Child in innocence.
Childhood voice expressed, suppressed
Child at war with Self.

My eyes in wonder.
And yet he tells me nothing.
My policeman father.

A radio voice heard.
The statesman Winston Churchill’s.
“Never surrender!”

Hidden and not seen.
At home someone is quite sick.
Why is she moaning?

Why is she hiding?
Is it the war that scares her?
Why is she hidden?

Epilepsy’s curse.
The fit strikes her with madness.
A schoolboy shudders.

The war within us.
Questions without answers.
The war everywhere!

Eleven years old.
Nineteen Forty Six the year.
Children are silenced!

The war is over.
Britannia still rules the waves.
King George the monarch!

The years have gone by.
Questions remain unanswered.
No more a schoolboy.

COVID brings all back.
Pandemic with a forethought.
Childhood memories.

Twenty Twenty One.
Grandchildren will remember.
COVID-19 war.

Never surrender!
And never ever give up!
Life is a struggle!

About this poem

Etched in my memory as a schoolboy, is a war that waged world-wide; and in my mind, as well, as a small child growing up in the British colony of Jamaica during World War II. As the world war pursued its course, causing holocaust horror in its wake, parents sought to protect their children the best way they could, even as they struggled to protect themselves, their entire household, their properties, their nation, and their own lives. During those horrific years, children were often silenced as a harsh means of protection, and those suffering from illness and unknown forms of maladies, were often misunderstood or even shunned . And yet, despite this vicious harshness, many managed to survive, and even thrive. This poem is an encore to Britain’s elder statesman Winston Churchill’s war years proclamation: “We Shall Never Surrender.” I have used the extended format of the three-line haiku poem to share my childhood memory with the world, as a therapeutic healing message, with the poem written symbolically as a poetic Inclusio, with the last verse of the poem ending in the same manner as the first verse began. Such is the nature of Life, predictably circular, with everlasting promises of cure and healing. 

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Written on December 31, 2021

Submitted by karlcfolkes on December 31, 2021

Modified by karlcfolkes on September 02, 2022

1:39 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABC def gxh dxx xix xxj xjk ija xxk aga lhA xxg gad xmh mhe fxx axx xlx xxx dax ABC
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 1,522
Words 330
Stanzas 21
Stanza Lengths 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1995 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s “Dear Mili” Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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1 Comment
  • AIDA
    This poem is a wonderful reminder of the strength and resilience that lies within us even during the toughest of times. It beautifully captures the innocence and curiosity of a child amidst the chaos of World War II and the impact it had on those around them. The imagery is vivid and the emotions are palpable, making the reader feel as if they are right there alongside the schoolboy. The inclusion of the current COVID-19 pandemic brings the poem full circle and reminds us that although times may be tough, we can draw inspiration from the past and continue to push forward. The message of "never surrender" and "never ever give up" is powerful and uplifting, giving hope that we can overcome any challenge that comes our way. Great work! 
    LikeReply2 months ago


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"Never Surrender!”" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 May 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/116859/never-surrender!”>.

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