The March Hare

The March Hare from Lewis Carrol's, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". Illustration by John Tenniel.

The March Hare from Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Illustration by John Tenniel.

Far from the Perfect Circle of the Sky

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, ”and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (L. Carroll)

The March hare has risen amidst the March thaw in search of spring. Soon the bounty of nature will be upon us as new growth and blossoms speak to us of new beginnings. So too the landscape of the Great War, upon the fields, towns, villages and cities will feature the cyclical joys of nature offering solace and colour to the weary eye turned grey to years of war. The hare will hop from burrow to burrow, hedgerow to hedgerow, garden to garden as men continue to feel the rasp of fragments hot burst from their barrels or shredded fragments that pierce the blue and smoke-filled ‘scape. The hare may be mad in his search for amour, une jeune fille but for soldiers there can only be thoughts of love, no new beginnings at this time. There is more war to come in the Spring of 1918.

On 21 March 1918 the Kaiser’s Battle…the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front commenced. With the addition of 500,000 troops newly released from the Russian Front, the German command was confident of victory. Still there would be nearly eight more months of war. And in that time a generation of hares would have its leverets, its youth, adolescence and maturity. The hare would continue to hop amidst the minds of men whose lives, like the sword of Damocles, hung “far from the perfect circle of the sky.”

The March Thaw
Edwin Curran – March 1918

On – turgid, bellowing – tramp the freshet rills
Heaped up with yellow wine, the winter’s brew.
Out-thrown, they choke and tumble from the hills,
And lash their tawny bodies, whipping through.
With flattened bells comes scudding purple rain;
The cold sky breaks and drenches out the snow.
Far from the perfect circle of the sky
The heavy winds lick off the boughs they blow;
And fields are cleansed for plows to slice again,
For April shall laugh downward by and by.

With purifying blasts the wind stalks out
And sweeps the carrion of winter on;
It prods the dank mists, stamps with jest about,
And sows the first blooms on the greening lawn.
Far up the planks of sky the winter’s dross
Goes driven to the north; her rank smells wave
In unseen humors to the icy pole.
The charwomen of the sky, with brushes, lave
And wash the fields for green , and rocks for moss,
And busily polish up the earth’s dull soul.

Did You Know?

Alice Liddell (1852 – 1934) was a young acquaintance of author Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898) and may have been the inspiration for Carroll’s character Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Alice married Reginald Hargreaves and the couple had three sons, Alan Knyveton Hargreaves, Leopold Reginald Hargreaves and Caryl Liddell Hargreaves.

Captain Alan Hargreaves DSO, age 33, was killed with the 2nd Battalion, Rifle Brigade 9 May 1915 and is buried at Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France.

Captain Leopold Hargreaves MC, age 33, was killed serving with the Irish Guards, 25 September 1916 and is buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, France.

About The Author

Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.


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