"Behold, their heroes cry in the streets,
The envoys of peace weep bitterly." Isaiah, 33:7.
Above is a journal entry for Remembrance Day painted last year. This was completed in a discarded library book that I have repurposed for art. Visit this post to see another page in this journal.
I didn't publish this journal spread on my blog last year. I decided to transform it into a black and white photo for the header, and then publish the original painting within the text.
A novel as inspiration for a journal entry
I was inspired by Losing Julia, a novel I read in 2001. The very touching love story has had a lasting effect, but it is the way the author, Jonathan Hull, transports us to the WWI battlefield that has had even a greater impact on me. I have selected one particular section describing the danger and horror of warfare on the front as the young soldiers go out to repair the wire that separates them from the Germans:
SHHHH....THUNK! We roll down into a shell hole, which has a foot of cold, pasty water at the bottom.
SHHHH....THUNK! We press against the dirt, hiding from the glowing eagles that hover overhead, searching. Pop, pop. Pop. pop. Sniper fire down the line. And farther the whine of a shell. Whhizzzzzz BANG!
We wait. Daniel's face, made ghostly white under the flare is expressionless. I don't even see him in his face and wonder if he stayed back in the trenches, perhaps to write poetry. Tometti's face trembles the way my grandfather's did in the months before he died. His pupils are shoved toward the top of his sockets as they scan the sky and he has one hand pressed down hard on the top of his helmet.
If I die and all my friends die, then who will carry the story of my death back across the ocean? (221).
Daniel yanks my shoulder and I turn and stare at the hole in Tometti's throat which is foaming and bubbling. Daniel runs off to find a medic and I hold Tometti who is staring at me expectantly only I don't know what to do for a throat wound. I unbutton his shirt and hold him and rock him and he keeps staring at me demanding with his eyes and shit Tometti breathe breathe breathe what do I do for a throat wound shall I press my hand against it so you can stop leaking air or are you breathing from your throat now? Which is it Tometti nod or something Christ BREATHE TOMETTI BREATHE TOMETTI BREATHE MEDIC GODDAMN IT MEDIC OH SHIT TOMETTI I'VE GOT YOU I'VE GOT YOU I'VE GOT YOU. (222)
Photo by Chris Barbalis at unsplash.