All posts tagged Remembrance

Undated – November 1944?
“Tune Your Hearts to Brave Music”.

Comrades! Mourn not my loss.

Now, free from earthly weight my soul rides high.

Far, far above your little globe I seek another star,

My plane untrammelled by the pull of earth,

Beats pinions strong and swift in widest space.

Wife, mother, brothers, sisters all, shed not your



And yet it leads at last thro’ clouds and weariness and doubt,

To growing faith and strength, and gleams of sunshine,

And in after years, when time has softened sorrow’s roughest edge,

To glowing days of summer sun, and then, at last

To that same goal to which I swiftly pass.

“Tune now your hearts to music, brave”,

And set your feet to climb the hill.

Until at last the “Golden Years” shall come,

When all shall dwell within the Light of God,

In Happiness and Peace and war shall be no more.


“Tune Your Hearts to Brave Music” was discovered, incomplete, on loose sheets with about half a page missing, possibly containing ten or twelve lines around the middle section. Whilst the date is not known, this could have been May’s final poem before her death on 18th November 1944 which was just a week after Remembrance Day, 11th November. The poignant words fittingly serve as a remembrance of May herself athough she may have written them with her beloved departed husband Will in mind.

The inspiration for the poem clearly came from a prayer, attributed to St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430), which contained the lines: ‘Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music …’

St Augustine’s Prayer, is freely quoted in prayer books and individual church websites, although several variations in the wording and length occur. Some versions are truncated before the line ‘tune our hearts to brave music’.

Although It is believed that overall the main wording of the poem is original, written by May Hill, it is possible that she had deliberately quoted a poem that she had found elsewhere. However searches have not revealed lines other than those referred to above as part of St Augustine’s Prayer.

The poem has been added to the poems collection on this site. It also appears in the book The Casualties Were Small (available on Amazon) which contains over twenty of May’s poems as well as selected diary extracts, including those which suggest the background to each poem, accompanied by many nostalgic photographs.

The final item in this Blog, to follow in about a week’s time, will be a short Postscript relating to son Ron and the rest of May’s family.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?

Sun. Nov 5 6.20 P.M. [1944]

Jean did not parade to Hogsthorpe Church for Remembrance Service this afternoon as it came a squall of wind and rain and sleet between 12 o’c and 1 and still rained at ¼ to 2 o’c. She has gone to Chapel tonight, expect she is on Parade. Rene came while we were having tea about 5, rather late for Sun. but Jean put the water in the pot without any tea, and it seemed to take so long to boil up again. Rene looks pale and seedy yet but decidedly better than Thursday. Says she still feels wobbly inside. I thought it rather risky coming on her cycle so far, as it was still rather windy. Says she is coming tomorrow but rather not wash! It should be our big wash week. I must try to do some of them on the QT before she gets here. I have just written a Xmas AirGraph to Jock Brown. Have not written to him since the Spring. Ciss went to Church Parade with Red + this morning. Con came home with her for dinner. I would have liked to go to Chapel tonight but there is still a good bit of wind, tho’ it is not so cold. Have a touch of asthma too, tho’ not bad. If Father had been here we would have gone perhaps. I am afraid my chrysanths will have suffered in the wind and rain. It seems to blow all round these houses. Think Ciss’s must be preparing to go out, there seems a lot of tramping to and fro and switching scullery light on and off. I wouldn’t mind a visitor myself tonight.

Later. Listened to the spelling bee and beat them. Spelled most words correctly. Rene brought me 10/0 for Golly from Mrs Hutton. So with Elsie’s 11/0 for rabbits and 10/6 for dog my Dr bill of £1.15.6. is nearly paid. If I can only get more toys made I could put a little more away for a rainy day. Jean took flowers to churchyard today, chrysanths and the last gladiola unless the coloured ones come out, I have two in water in the house. My snap-dragons and marigolds are still blooming but wind and frost have nearly spoiled the asters. My anemones are coming up well, I am so pleased.

The golly for Mrs Hutton, in the village, and dog for a friend of Ron’s Emmie, were soft toys which May had made. Elsie Grantham, daughter of the Anderby Road farmer, had bought live rabbits from May.

May died on November 18th 1944, about two weeks after this, her final Diary entry. It was fitting that she concluded it with a mention of her beloved garden flowers.

This Blog will contain two further items within the next two weeks – one more of May’s poems (which was probably the last one she wrote) and a short Postscript relating to Ron and the rest of May’s family.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?