Poem – the Soil at Vimy Ridge

Over the course of the Vimy 100 anniversary ceremonies, many Canadians have sent us poems they have written in response to their feelings associated with Canada and Vimy Ridge. Today we want to share one such special poem, written by Inés Fiedler and winner of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2015 literary contest. In her own words, Inés describes the story behind the poem:

“Originally, The Soil At Vimy Ridge was an assignment for my high school class. However when it was submitted to the Royal Canadian Legion’s literary contest, it won First Place at the National Level. Neither the assignment nor the literary contest had specified what the poem had to be about – just that it should relate to our national Remembrance Day services. I myself was inspired by the passion with which my tenth grade history teacher told my class about the importance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge to Canada’s national identity. Thanks to the Royal Canadian Legion, my poem and the message I hoped it would share has reached thousands of Canadians. Hopefully, with the help of the Vimy Foundation it can reach even further.”

The Soil at Vimy Ridge
by Inés Fiedler

I am the soil at Vimy Ridge,
Unchanging in my essence.
I’ve been here since the soldiers left;
Was here before their presence.

I have witnessed bloody battles,
And a peaceful time before:
A still and calm so beautiful
Before the raging war.

I’ve felt the boots of twenty thousand
March towards their slaughter,
Sacrificing everything for
Wives and sons and daughters.

I’ve heard the echoes of their cries,
Free of arrogance or pride.
Full of fear, yet they fought
And for your freedom died.

I was watching when the fighting stopped
And victory was declared.
The Canadians proved themselves as more
Than soldiers who were scared.

Now I hold twelve thousand markers,
Of men who fought and fell
My duty is to make sure that
They rest forever well.

I am the soil at Vimy Ridge,
A witness to the war,
Some may say they’ve seen it all
But I have seen much more.

Photo Caption: Inés Fiedler (on far left) and other contest winners meet with Governor General David Johnston and the 2015 Silver Cross Mother at Rideau Hall.