A wonderful way to remember someone after they have died is to write a poem about them. Such a poem of remembrance is called an elegy.
The Poetry Dictionary defines elegy: “A poem for someone who has died; also called a lament and threnody. Elegies are love poems for the dead, tributes and offerings to loss” – John Drury, The Poetry Dictionary, p. 88.
The interesting thing about elegies is that though they’re written about someone, their subject will never read them. So we write them for ourselves and others left behind.
There aren’t any rules for writing elegies. “They come in all forms—rhymed, free verse, even prose paragraphs whose sole purpose is to soothe rather than impress” – Michael Bugeja, The Art and Craft of Poetry, p. 134.
Having been raised in a Mennonite home with pacifistic traditions, I’ve had a difficult time coming to terms with Remembrance Day and all it stands for. I am more thankful than I can say for those who risked or gave their lives so I can live in peace. I can recite “In Flanders Fields,” and it fills me with emotions. I wear a poppy to express my gratitude as well as my sorrow for the lives cut short, even though I don’t believe in war as a means of settling disputes.