Waiting for Godoe, en France


Notwithstanding the solid appearance of the centuries-old brick buildings and walled rose gardens everywhere you look, houses in France somehow feel quite temporary and uncertain. Despite their solid-as-brick appearance, these buildings are ghostly, even though many have been rebuilt and repainted since the last war in 1945. Many of these red brick houses are still chipped like old china plates, from shrapnel and bullets. Like an invisible fog, a foreboding air hovers when driving around Normandy and other World War I/II battle sites. These days, small bucolic villages and flat grassy pastures are populated with grazing sheep and sleepy cows, beside thousands of white concrete headstones, arranged row on row. Long-digested atrocities, ancient Abbeys hold secret graveyards where POWs were executed and quietly hidden under the old tree in the garden. Old WWI trenches are a common sight, snaking out across farmers’ fields as long grassy zig-zag mounds. And each spring, long twisted lines of chalk push up to the surface through the ploughed soil as remnants of old buried trenches remind us of the millions of Allied and German faces who were casualties in these bloody wars to end all wars.

Photos of Canadian WWI War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France, and old trenches and grassy shell craters with sheep.
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3 responses to “Waiting for Godoe, en France

  1. Gosh yes, the past is with us. I had this same feeling in Guernsey, where wildflowers now bloom among old trenches, gun mounts & observation towers…

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