Standard Bearers to the fore holding colours of blue and gold.
Representing a family of nations and their warriors bold.
The Seventy-fifth year of the Legion at the Royal Albert Hall,
Colonnaded balconies of people reflecting the epic call.
To defend against an aggressor and support all those oppressed,
Prompted by this calling with zeal they were possessed.
Standing here in the autumn of life, somewhat tired but ever so proud,
As the Sovereign takes her place overlooking this glorious crowd.
Medals sparkle, glint and glisten on those with snowy hair;
Fanfares sound in clarion call mustering the chosen there.
First the intrepid Mariners in navy with hats of white;
Then pith helmeted Royal Marines a precise and disciplined sight.
Marching men in tunics of scarlet with bearskins on the head,
Successors of others before them, the wounded and the dead.
Closely followed by heckles of green, the Irish are on parade,
Loyal soldiers to the Crown their fame does not fade.
Men and women of every Service go forth to their appointed place,
Also the Chelsea Pensioners at a slow and dignified pace.
Wearing the three-cornered hat, dressed in coats of red,
Honours festooning each breast, none braver it could be said.
Now berobed and mitred Clergy to bestow blessings and give thanks,
On the lowered Standard and those of various ranks.
The skirl of Highland Pipers whilst colleagues dance the sword,
A sound heard by Enemies past as many a cannon roared.
Welshmen in choral harmony in voices high and low,
Pursuing their great tradition as sweet melodies flow.
Continuity orderless marching that others could not match,
By those wearing Air Force blue, exact as any watch.
Throughout this solemn encounter, trumpet, piccolo and drum-beat,
To enthral all those present, with performers at their feet.
Hymns ae sung, an address is said, the ‘Last Post’ it is played,
Poppies cascading on the young, thoughts of the valiant dead.
At the last a kettledrum roll, preceding ‘God Save The Queen’,
Thus, ending all the homage, remembered by those who have been.
Poppies lie in abundance, having fallen down like the rain,
A reminder to the living of the blood of spilled on the plain.
Monty Alexander 12.11.96