Winnowing Fan: Poems On The Great War
By: Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
This little gem of a book contains twelve poems about World War I. There is more to it than its intrinsic value as verse. Edward Elgar (1857-1934) set three of the poems (The Fourth Of August, To Women, For The Fallen) in his cantata The Spirit of England (1915-1917). Since its composing and musical setting, For The Fallen has held an honored place in every November 11th Remembrance Day for Britain and the Commonwealth (Memorial Day for Americans). Moved by the opening of the Great War and the already high number of casualties of the British Expeditionary Force, in 1914 Laurence Binyon wrote his For the Fallen, with its Ode of Remembrance, as he was visiting the cliffs on the north Cornwall coast,… The third and fourth verses of the poem (although often just the fourth) have so been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation.