Remember Harry Patch

A photo of Harry Patch

I always wanted to pay my own tribute to this remarkable man, and always felt that one day I could perhaps find the words to create a poem. However, since embarking on my journey to explore imagery and feeling, that may amount to a ‘poetic’ feeling using tone and sound alone, I have grown more and more to appreciate what seems to be an almost hidden form of language enshrined in sound which is capable of stirring emotions in the same way that crafted poetic words can stir emotions. I apologise if I’m not articulating this as well as I hope but I suppose that all I’m trying to say is that if a title points the listener in a certain direction then it seems possible to generate the same emotional response in a listener that I feel myself.
Ever since seeing the late Harry Patch talk on a TV documentary about his experiences in the great war I have remembered the man, not daily perhaps, but he seems to crop up in my thoughts at odd moments and this is something that gives me pleasure. I never want to forget Harry Patch, nor the many others who endured the war and including of course those who paid the ultimate scrifice for all of us. I seem to be on a parrallel journey of poetry and music where both are perfectly capable of leading my mind into strong imagery and strong feelings too. How this all works on someone like myself creatively I’m not too sure, but one day recently I sat down at my electronic keyboard and selected a certain sound, the tone of which resonated inside me and then I started to play. I cannot read music and cannot play any instrument, but by ‘feeling’ my way forward testing notes and combinations I heard that something was emerging that reflected how I felt when thinking of Harry Patch. I will never forget how he relayed in the documentary the moment he cradled a dying soldier in his arms and suddenly the soldier cried out “Mother”, just as though she had appeared there before him. He then passed away. I hope you feel what I feel inside this musical piece which it seems is composed, arranged and played by me even though I cannot read music or play a musical instrument. It seems odd to me that this can happen. Thanks for listening and best wishes. Neil


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