It was the early days of World War I in the Second Battle near the town of Ypres. A 22-year old Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed, from the explosion of a German artillery shell. He died 102 years ago tomorrow, May 2, 1915.
Ypres a small, ancient Belgian town saw some of the most intense and sustained battles during the war. Helmer was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as his friend, doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
The son of Scottish immigrants, for McCrea, medicine, the Army and poetry were family traditions.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus was born some sixty-five years before Christ and died eight years before the Savior’s birth. Known in the English-speaking world as Horace, he was the leading Roman lyric poet during the reign of Augustus the first Emperor of the Roman Empire. “Carpe diem” or seize the day and “non omnis moriar” are all Horace originals from a long time ago. In Horace’s poetic style he expressed his personal and emotional feelings. In his world lyric poems did not have to rhyme, and even today do not need to be set to music or to a beat. “Perfect” I thought! I’ll be a poet in the style of the great Horace! No music and no rhyme, I got the time, let the writing begin!