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 in the Royal Albert Hall;
Colonnaded balconies of people reflecting the epic call.
Defend against an aggressor and champion those oppressed;
Prompted by this calling, with zeal they were possessed.
Some now in the autumn of life, tired but ever so proud;
As the Sovereign takes her place, o’er 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 and hats of white;
Then pith helmeted Royal Marines, 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 hackles of green, the Irish are on parade;
Loyal soldiers of the Crown, their fame does not fade.
Those of every Service go to their appointed place;
Also, The Chelsea Pensioners at a slow and dignified pace.
Wearing the three-cornered hat, in uniform coats of red;
Honours on every breast, none braver it could be said.
Berobed and mitred clergy, to bestow blessing and give thanks;
On the lowered Standards and all the gathered ranks.
The skirl of Highland Pipers as colleagues dance the sword;
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 silent marching, that others could not match;
By those wearing Airforce blue, exact as any watch.
Tempo set by music, of trumpet, piccolo and drum beat;
Enthralling all those present, such performers at their feet.
Hymns are sung, an address is said, the ‘Last Post’ it is played;
Poppies cascading on the young, symbols of the valiant dead.
Then the peal of a kettle drum, heralds ‘God Save The Queen’;
Ending all the homage, remembered by those who have been.
Poppies lie in abundance having fallen down like the rain;
Reminder to the living; of the blood spilt on the plain.
Monty Alexander 12.11.96