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Great War Poetry

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robbie
Hi all,

Alan Seeger has been mentioned in this thread before most often for his famous poem "I have a rendezvous with death". I haven't seen anyone refer to his volume of Letters and Diary which can be purchased alongside "Poems by Alan Seeger" as "Alan Seeger, The COmplete Works" by Amanda harlech (Ed.)

ISBN 3-88243-751-0, Edition, Paris.

Alan Seeger was an American who enlisted in the  Foreign Legion of France in 1914. He died on 3rd July 1916 in the fight for Belloy-en-Santerre.

Reading the letters to his mother and the diary entries provide the context for his beautiful poems.

I strongly recommend the complete works.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/3...4269947-7490003

Robbie

Here is a not so famous poem by Alan Seeger. Would be interested to hear whether you prefer this one to "I have a rendezvous with death", or vice versa.

Sonnet V111

Oh, love of woman, you are known to be

A passion sent to plague the hearts of men;

For every one you bring felicity

Bringing rebuffs and wretchedness to ten.

I have been oft where human life sold cheap

And seen men's brains spilled out about their ears

And yet that never cost me any sleep;

I lived untroubled and I shed no tears.

Fools prate how war is an atrocious thing;

I always knew that nothing it implied

Equalled the agony of suffering

Of him who loved and loves unsatisfied.

War is a refuge to a heart like this;

Love only tells it what true torture is.

Alan Seeger - "Last Poems" 1916.

Robbie

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Cliff. Hobson

MATHEW COPSE.

Once in thy secret close, now almost bare

Peace yielded up her bOuntiful largesse,

The dawn dropp'd sunshine through thy leafy dress,

The sunset bathed thy glade with beauty rare.

Now 'mid thy splinter'd trees the great shells crash,

The subterranean mines thy deeps divide;

And men from Death and Terror there do hide

Hide in thy caves from shrapnel's deadly splash.

There by thr fallen youth, where heroes lie,

Close by each simple cross the flowers will spring,

The bonnes enfants will wander in the spring.

And lovers dream those dreams that never die.

Will. Streets, JUNE 1916

Will. Streets K. I. A. 1st JULY 1916.

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Canadawwi

There are so many poems I love, particularly those by Sassoon and Owen, but these poems by Henry Mond are my favourites (sorry about two, but I'm indecisive). They are quite rare, I waited four years before I could finally get a copy. I approached our reference library long ago to get a copy as I saw they had one in their collection. However, the staff told me that it was removed from circulation then packed in a box. As there were many such boxes, no one was going to go through all the boxes for me. So I thought it was hopeless. However, one day a few months back I was back at the library, and a librarian came over and asked if I need any help. I again asked about the poems, just in case things had changed, but this person kindly agreed to go look for it. So I got the book. What was strange was that the card index in the book showed the last time it was taken out was 1923, and then it was removed from the library circulation. I still wonder why - censorship, too risque for those times... So I was the first to look at it again.

*************************************

Henry Mond, "Poems of Dawn and the Night" (London: Chapman & Hall Ltd., 1919).

The Silver Corpse

All night the spirit of his mother hovered there,

Sat crouched and silent on the traverses,

Above his feet, over his blood-mucked hair,

Until my blood iced in my arteries.

I passed the bay each hour, and as I went,

The wet clay trench was silver 'neath the moon,

And on the fire-step, very still, lay rent

A silver corpse; all round about was strewn

Chloride of lime upon his darkening blood.

A sodden sandbag covered up his face

And lay across his shoulder. As I stood

Watching his grey and clotted hand, the place

Filled with his mother, sped to him from home.

"Come back to me, my son," she whispered,

"Come.

I cannot lose the only thing I have,

There is a God in Heaven! I am brave,

But still your mother; I must speak to you."

My soul filled up with sorrow as a sponge,

For in the noonday, when the sky was blue,

I saw the shell-burst smash him, saw him plunge

Onto the duckboards: saw his nostrils splutter

His own blood and the mud,

Face downward in the gutter.

Under the brilliance of the summer sun

His soul sped outward to eternity,

Thinned into space, and with the world was done.

In vain into the darkness breathes the sign

"My son, my son, I need you."

Stinking Farm

Is getting strafed like Hell. See, they have put his arm,

Torn clean off, parted from the shoulder bone,

Close by his side, a little too far down.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A Dirge on the Triumphal March of the Australian Forces Through London

May, 1919

Oh people not by mourning overswept

In the great tragedy that has befallen earth,

Oh generation that shall lie unwept,

Even by the very children of your birth,

March on your empty triumphal and sing,

For at your gloomy death no hands shall bring

The coronet of grief that should have crowned you King.

Exult ye at the symbol of your soul

The culminant expression of your lies;

Your vasty edifice whereof the whole

Is but a golden heap of perjuries.

For wide beyond the cracking of your domes,

Tottering towards you for your dusty tombs,

A light, a word, a song, out of the rending comes.

Stride upon stride, and proud the warriors swing,

With all the scorn of battle in their eyes;

Hard-bitten scorn of those who shout the thing

They dared not face, and did not dare despise.

So the processions made of old to please

The gaping crowds, the wealthy at their ease,

In the light of war-scorched souls are dismal parodies.

Oh spirit of the Universe, stoop down

And hear the constant humming of machines;

Listen against the dry anguishing tone

Of living souls caught living in machines.

Hollow and hollow tramp the labourer's feet,

Hollow as all his strivings to complete,

Hollow as all his weariness when the wings of life are fleet.

Hum on the increase, oh, machines! and shriek,

Shriek with the tongues of all the tangled world,

Rising magnificent on Death to speak

The gathering truth, the song victorious hurled

Out of the shout-stretched throats of liberate men

Thronged up the gilded stairway that has been

The glory way to falsehood and our bane.

Till, leaping the steps with eyes aflame,

And naked arms and loosened neck and hair,

Swept in the breathing of her glorious frame,

A girl shall lead them, knife in hand, to clear

The master perjurers, the queenly whores,

Till, with the welter of their blood, the floors

Shall rot and crash upon the throne of Mars.

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robbie

Love "the Silver Corpse", Canadaww1.

Robbie

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Hugh Pattenden

I should like to post part of a poem written by one of the men I'm researching: Second Lieutenant J. A. B. Jolley, 1/5th Lincolnshire (T.F.).

It was written in 1912, before he went off to war, but it is somewhat prophetic. Second Leiutenant Jolley was KIA at Loos on 13th October 1915, aged 20.

The Dying Heracles

Once did I fight with Death to save a friend,

Now Death, recovered from his first defeat,

Seeks to regain his own, and in the end

He conquers me.

I strove to conquer death, and in the heat

Of passing Triumph, thought that I did bend

Him to my will, that I in fight could meet

Him, and be free

But none can conquer Death, no hero can

Escape his clutches, be he ne’er so strong,

For dreaded Death and Hades cast their ban

Upon them all.

What Death is, none must know, for it is wrong

To seek out knowledge too divine for man,

But e’en for heroes there awaits ere long-

A sable pall

Reading the last two lines, the tragic irony of the poem is that Second Lieutenant Jolley has no known grave.

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Ken Lees

I have two favourite poems.

Firstly, John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields". This poem has special significance for me because my wife is a distant relation of his. My son (aged 12) is very proud of this association.

My second favourite (poem that it, not son!) is also special because of the man who wrote it. He lived just down the road from me and was killed in action just a few weeks after he wrote it.

Somebody’s Soldier Boy

Somewhere in the fighting line,

There’s a soldier boy

Thinking of his home and friends,

And he thinks of them with joy.

It was for their sake he left them,

His duty it was clear.

He must go to fight for England,

His home and loved ones dear.

He’d no regret, nor any care,

His heart was staunch and true.

He knew that England called him,

She had work for him to do.

He left his home, his mother dear,

Her blessing on him shed.

He left his sweetheart and his friends

And o’er the foam he sped.

And now he’s fighting side by side,

With other British sons.

His time is spent midst shot and shell

And the booming of the guns.

He has no fear, he only prays

That someday he’ll return,

Back to that dear old home

Whose heart for him does yearn.

Back to that dear old country

And to all those he holds dear,

He knows that they are praying,

His heart they are ever near.

But wherever he may wander,

Or whatever may befall,

His thoughts will ever be of home

His prayer, God bless them all.

Pte. 3135 John (Jack) Halewood

1/9th King’s Liverpool Regiment

of Scarisbrick, Lancashire

Killed in Action 31st August 1916, aged 25

Buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery, Somme

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Soren

Jon,

I've just checked Robert Services work......... I really like them!

regards

Soren

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Guest LauraEJT

Thanks to canadawwi for the Henry Mond-I had never heard of him,but was highly impressed by the 2 poems you posted.

I've had a think about what people have shared here (many thanks) and it seems very clear that there are amazing poems that don't belong to the "Big 2"(Wilfred and Siegfried) I will nail my colours to the mast-they were both great and important poets,in my opinion,but their public preminence tends to mean very little is known (esp taught in schools) about the others,even relatively well known men like Charles Sorley (I'm sure neither of them would have wanted this)

How to overcome this? I had an English teacher who loved Sorley,Rosenberg,Edward Thomas and Seeger,so we did read them,but I'm not sure teachers today(absolutely no offence to them meant) have the freedom or the time to introduce "new" people"

Don't know-half digested thoughts-but it does seem sad that poems of the quality of those people have posted here are not more widely known.

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johnreed

It think the poem by Moina Michael whose inspiration was John McCrae's poem. She started off the tradition of the red poppy.

We Shall Keep the Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields

Sleep sweet - to raise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And holding high, we keep the Faith

With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valour led;

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never vdies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flowers that blooms above the dead

In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red

We wear in honor of our dead.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;

We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought

In Flanders Fields.

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bkristof

This one is a Belgian poem of 1915 by Franz De Backer:

I translated it in English for you:

Na den aanval (after the battle)

the low sun is red of blood; - you was a child,

with a slight smile on your mouth, and blond hairs,

en happy, bright eyes

the low sun is red of blood; - you were loved,

silent love-light, that hang around you

in soft rainbows

the low sun is red of blood; - the hard stroke

in the wild fight for the country, the poor , that let slip away

your bright and warm life

the low sun is red of blood; - you are so pale,

with al that rest on your face, and your lips

still ready to scream

the low sun is red of blood; - I weep for you

Vlaamsche stem 12 august 1915, F. De Backer

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Guest LauraEJT

I thought some of you might like this.

The Cenotaph.

Not yet will these measureless fields be green again

Where only yesterday the wild.sweet,blood of wonderful youth was shed:

There is a grave whose earth must hold too long,too deep a stain,

Though for ever over it we may speak as proudly we may tread.

But here,where the watchers by lonely hearths from the thrust of an inward sword have more slowly bled,

We shall build the Cenotaph:Victory,winged,with Peace,winged too,

at the columns head.

And over the stairway,at the foot-oh! here,leave desolate passionate

hands to spread

Violets,roses,and laurel,with the small,sweet,twinkling country things

Speaking so wistfully of other Springs

From the little gardens of little places where son or sweetheart was born

and bred.

In splendid sleep,with a thousand brothers

To lovers--to mothers.

Here,too,lies he:

Under the purple,the green,the red,

It is all young life:it must break some women's hearts to see

Such a brave,gay coverlet to such a bed!

Only when all is done and said,

God is not mocked and neither are the dead.

For this will stand in our Market-place-

Who'll sell,who'll buy

(Will you or I

Lie to each other with the better grace)?

While looking into each every busy whore's and huckster's face

As they drive their bargains,is the Face

Of God:and some young,piteous,murdered face.

Charlotte Mew,1869-1928.

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Guest sapper6

My favourite poem is Futility by Wilfred Owen but this one is oh so very close.

ANZAC Cove By Leon Gellert.

There's a lonely stretch of hillocks:

There's a beach asleep and drear:

There's a battered broken fort beside the sea.

There are sunken trampled graves:

And a little rotting pier:

And winding paths that wind unceasingly.

There's a torn and silent valley:

There's a tiny rivulet

With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.

There are lines of buried bones:

There's an unpaid waiting debt:

There's a sound of gentle sobbing in the South.

January, 1916

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frev

I'm sorry it's such a long one - but I really love this poem written by an Aussie Trooper who went by the pseudonym 'Gerardy', Palestine 1918.

A Mountain Fight.

The shadows fall on the lonely dead,

Where the murderous guns held spree,

And spattered the stones of Moab red,

In the sight of the blue Dead Sea.

The hills are mute in the aftermath

Of a long and bitter fray,

And the shattering voice of battle-wrath

Has died with the fatal day.

The moon rolled over the naked range,

On the night we ambled forth.

Fair was the tranquil vale, and strange

All trails that led to the north.

The Jordan wound like a monster snake

Away to the left below;

And flickering faint in our dusty wake

Were the lights of Jericho.

We followed the trail up scars and seams

On a flood-worn broken floor;

The sky looked down, as a night-sky gleams

Through a roofless corridor.

We climbed where the crags weave sombre shades

On the ledges lone and high;

Where the rocks are sharp as bayonet blades

Held sheer at the limpid sky.

Our guns moved close in the trailing rear,

And many a curse was thrown

At the brazen hills we purchased dear

With blood and muscle and bone.

We stumbled on till the dawn awoke,

And cradled the moon to rest;

Till a golden bar of sunlight broke

On a tapering mountain crest.

The light of an amber sun was blent

With the mists of morning then,

And the hoofs of the surging regiment

Rang clear in a wid'ning glen;

But sudden and sharp, on either flank,

The rattle of rifles told

How fate had played us a murder prank

In the heart of Dead Man's Hold.

As a shaft leaps forth from an archer's bow,

Through a withering rain of lead,

We sprang from the shock of a sudden blow,

And raced for the rocks ahead.

The foeman hurried us on as hard

As a blast of autumn wind;

And the guns with the straggling afterguard

Kept rumbling on behind.

We turned at last where a mountain wall

Arose in our broken course -

No more would a speechless horseman fall,

Hard hit, from his startled horse.

We left the saddle and screened the guns,

And our rifle bolts replied

To the soulless Turks and the master Huns

Who approached on either side.

They swarmed like ants, till the vale seemed black

With a seething human flood,

That the shrapnel failed in holding back

With its toll of life and blood

They tumbled over the men that fell

From the frantic, foremost line,

And gave us a taste of earthly hell,

In the hills of Palestine.

The mass bore down, as a greedy tide

Sweeps over an ocean beach,

While the bombardiers toiled side by side

At the hot, recoiling breech.

But the saving shells gave out too soon,

And the batt'ry ceased to rave,

As many a man was seen to swoon,

And sprawl on his stony grave.

We sought the saddle and bounded then,

Like a team of startled stags;

We left behind us the crowded glen

And clambered among the crags.

But ere the Turk, in his hasty greed,

Was able to hold us all,

We gave him a taste of hell indeed,

From the leaning mountain wall.

We hung to the high ground all that day;

And all through the night we kept

The cowering foe from the guns away,

While never a horseman slept.

When anxious hours began to drag,

And the fight seemed left to chance,

They set their guns on the Red Cross flag,

And shattered out ambulance.

A fresh dawn broke on a day of dread,

Our bandoliers were light;

We hadn't enough of rifle lead

To commence another fight.

But the beat of hoofs rang sharp and clear

Ere the noon-sun crowned the day,

And we knew relief was forging near -

That the Turk had crept away.

They found us perched on the mountain wall

Where the twisted dead were strown;

The perishing wounded ceased to call,

And the dying ceased to groan.

We staggered away like listless ghosts

To the heart of Dead Man's Hold,

While the fresh relief took up their posts,

And the guns began to scold.

The shadows fall on the lonely dead,

Where the murderous guns held spree,

And spattered the hills of Moab red,

In sight of the blue Dead Sea.

And memory robs my eyes of sleep,

For half my comrades sprawl

Where half of my heart lies buried deep.

In the stones of a mountain wall.

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KF Kelly

Hello,

I would like to add Isaac Rosenberg 'Break of Day in the Trenches'

- ".... Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew

Your cosmopolitan sympathies.

Now you have touched this English hand

You will do the same to a German -

Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure..."

and how about this for a piece of prose from Wilfred Owen ?

'For 14 hours yesterday I was at work - teaching Christ to lift his cross by numbers, and how to adjust his crown; and not to imagine he thirst until after the last halt. I attended his Supper to see that there were no complaints; and inspected his feet that they should be worthy of the nails. I see to it that he is dumb, and stands at attention before his accusers. With a piece of silver I buy him every day, and with maps I make him familiar with the topography of Golgotha.'

'the topography of Golgotha' - what an image.

KF Kelly

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john w.

Gwyn

Thanks for the ifo.. in many ways I had supected it as much of the songs etc changed as the war went on...

Many thanks

John

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Essexboy68

Hi Folks

Some very interesting entries cropping up here, some I have heard of, a lot that I have not, so will need to expand my reading to accomodate them in the future.

For what it's worth, here are my choices, most are listed, but I think at least one hasn't been mentioned, maybe because it is not really a "War" poem.......

Dulce Et Decorium Est Wilfred Owen

Rendezvous Alex Seeger

Tommy Rudyard kipling

Cheers

Mark

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Dragon

Mark, do you mean 'I have a rendezvous with death' by Alan Seeger?

I used part of that in my Remembrance pages on my website.

If you're interested in war poetry in general, rather than specifically Great War poetry, you might consider The Faber Book of War Poetry, edited by Kenneth Baker. It's an excellent, comprehensive and sensitively selected anthology.

Gwyn

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John S

While my favourite poem is ‘Man at Arms’, I also like ‘The Kid’ By Tony Spagnoly. This is about Rifleman Albert French buried at Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery, Ploegsteert.

But the main reason for this post was to mention a CD of 1st World War Poems I found at Tommy’s Bar.

It has 13 poems written by Robert Service and narrated by Peter Dumville plus some incidental music and battle sounds.

I thought it an excellent buy particularly as all proceeds will be donated to cancer charities in memory of a gentleman named William ‘Bill’ Link, and others, who lost their battles against cancer.

John

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Guest Benoit Douville

My favorite World War I poem is In Flanders Fields written by the Canadian John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Regards

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Michelle Young

My son Tom who is 14 in 9 days is studying Great War Poetry at school at present. It is very interesting reading and sharing with him his ideas and interpetations of what he is reading. He has been sharing with me his thoughts on Dulce et Decorum Est after school today.

(I suppose he has a slight advantage in his background knowledge of the Great War, he has been visisting the battlefields since he was 6 months old, and was part of the "Strange Meeting" at Ors communal cemetery on November 4th, 1993.)

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Chris Martin

Hello,

I find this discussion quite interesting and have had a long interest in Great War poetry. My two favorite pomes to come out of the war, both by men killed in combat, are:

Come ye who may,

Foeman in air, or Earth!

For my machine-gun

Sings for you alone,

And in his lay

To silvery death gives birth.

Now lifts now lowers he

His deadly tone.

Here do I lie,

Hidden by grass and flowers,

With my machine-gun,

Ghost of modern war.

The sun floats high,

The moon through deep blue hours,

I watch with my machine-gun

At Death’s grim door

= by Lieutenant John Hobson of the British Machine Gun Corps killed 1917 23yrs at Passchendaele

IN MEMORIAM

Private D. Sutherland Killed in Action in the German

Thrench, May 16th 1916, and others who died.

So you were David's father

And he was your only son,

And the new-cut peats are rotting

And the work is left undone,

Because of an old man weeping,

Just an old man in pain,

For David, his son David,

That will not come again

Oh, the letters he wrote you,

And I can see them still,

Not a word of the fighting

But just the sheep on the hill

And how you should get the crops in

Ere the year got stormier,

And the Bosches have got his body,

And I was his Officer.

You were only David's father,

But I had fifty sons

When we went up in the evening

Under the arch of the Guns,

And we came back at twilight-

Oh God! I heard them call

To me for help and pity

That could not help at all

Oh, never will I forget you,

My men that trusted me,

More my sons than your fathers',

For they could only see

The little helpless babies

And the young men in their pride.

They could not see you dying,

And hold you while you died.

Happy and young and Gallant,

They saw their first-born go,

But not the strong limbs broken

And the beautiful men brought low,

The piteous writhing bodies,

They screamed, "Don't leave me, Sir,"

For they were only your fathers

But I was your officer.

=by Lieutenant Ewart Alan MacKintosh, 5th Bat Seaforth Highlanders, killed November 21st 1917 at age 24, Flesquieres, France

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Chris Martin
Coming in well late to this thread...

A question for the literary bods...

Did the war poem change as the course of the war dragged onwards?

Were the early poems more optimistic than those written later? I am aware that the songs of the period changed as the war rolled on, from optimism to pessimsim.

I have no examples but just wondered if you felt the same as me on this point

John

Did the war poem change as the course of the war dragged onwards?

To add an example to this question and to the explination given by Gwyn, in A Deep Cry: First World War Soldier-Poets Killed in France and Flanders edited by Anne Powell there is a great depiction of this.

In 1917 Captain Arthur Graeme West wrote "God! How I Hate You, You Young and Cheerful Men!" in responce to Rex Freston's (whom he attended Oxford with prior to enlistment) poems "O Fortunati" and "To the Atheists'"

Freston was killed 24 Jan 1916 at 24 years of age. He enlisted in 1915 and during his brief time he wrote many poems of a very romantic and idealistic nature, the above mentioned probably his most romantic.

O Fortunati

O happy to have lived these epic days!

To have seen unfold, as doth a dream unfold,

These glorious chivalries, these deeds of gold,

The glory of whos splendour gilds death's ways,

As a rich sunset fills dark woods with fire

And blinds the traveller's eyes. Our eyes are blind

With flaming heroism, that leaves our mind

Dumbstruck with pride. We have has our heart's desire!

O happy! Generations have lived and died

And only dreamed such things as we have seen and known!

Splendour of Men, death laughed at, death defied,

Round the great world, on the winds, their tale is blown;

Whatever pass, these ever shall abide:

In memory's Valhalla, an imperishable throne.

To the Atheists

I know that God will never let me die.

He is too passionate and intense for that.

See how he swings His great suns through the sky.

See how He hammers the proud-faced mountains flat.

He takes a handful of a million years

And hurls them at the planets; or he throws

His red stars at the moon: then with hot tears

He stoops to kiss one little earthborn rose.

Don't nail God down to rules, and think you know!

Or God, who sorrows all a summer's day

Because a blade of grass has died, will come

And suck this world up in His lips, and lo!

Will spit it out a pebble, powdered grey,

Into the whirl of Infinity's nothingless foam.

West enlisted as a Private and was later commisoned. He was sent back to Scotland to for his officer's traning in March of 1916. By reading his letters during this period it is easy to see how greatly the war had effected him. He questioned the war his integrety and his ability to go on. In 1917 he penned a poem that was very critical of the romantic idealistic poetry that surrounded him.

God! How I Hate You, You Young Cheerful Men!

Gos! How I have you, you young and cheerful men,

Whose pious poetry blossoms on your graves

As soon as you are in them, nurtured up

By the salt of your corruption, and the tears

Of mothers, local vivars, college deans,

And flanked by prefaces and photographs

From all your minor poet friends - the fools-

Who paint their sentimental elegies

Where sure, no angle treads; and, living, share

The dead's brief immortality.

Oh Christ!

To Think that one could spread the ductile wax

Of his fluid youth tyo Oxford's glowing fires

And take her seal so ill! Hark how one chants -

"Oh happy to have lived these epic days" -

"Thses epic days"! And he'd been to France,

And seen the trenches, glimpsed the huddled dead

In the periscope, hung in the rusting wire:

Choked by their sickly foetor, day and nught

Blown down his throat: stumbled through ruined hearths,

Proved all that muddy brown monotony,

Where blood's the only coloured thing. Prehaps

He has seen a man killed, a sentry shot at night,

Hunched as he fell, his feet on the firing-step,

His neck against the back slope of the trench,

And the rest doubled up between, his head

smashed like an egg-shell, and the warm grey brain

Splattered all bloody on the parados:

He slashed a torch on his face, and known his friend,

Shot, breathing hardly, in ten minures - gone!

Yet still God's in His heaven, all is right

In the best possible of worlds. The woe,

Even His scaled eyes must see, is partial, only

A seeming woe, we cannot understand.

God loves us. God looks down on this our strife

And smiles in pity, blows a pipe at times

And calls some warriors home. We do not die,

Too "passionate", a whole day sorroes He

Because a grass-blade dies. How rare life is!

On earth, the love and fellowship of men,

Men sternly banded: banded for what end?

Banded to maim and kill their fellow men -

For even Huns are men. In heaven above

A genial umpire, a good judge of sport,

Won't let us hurt each other! Let's rejoice

God keeps us faithful, pens us still in fold.

Ah, what a faith is ours (almoat, it seems,

Large, as a mustard-seed) - we trust and trust,

Nothing can shake us! Ah, how good God is

To suffer us be born just now, when youth

That else would rust, can slake his blage in gore,

Where very God Himself does seem to walk

The bloody fields of Flanders He so loves!

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Malcolm

The Homecoming

by Joseph Lee

When this blast is over-blown,

And the beacon fires shall burn

And in the street

Is the sound of feet -

They also shall return.

When the bells shall rock and ring,

When the flags shall flutter free,

And the choirs shall sing, -

"God save our King"

They shall be there to see.

When the brazen bands shall play,

And the silver trumpets blow,

And the soldiers come

To the tuck of drum -

They shall be there also.

When that which was lost is found;

When each shall have claimed his kin,

Fear not they shall miss

Mother's clasp, maiden's kiss -

For no strange soil might hold them in.

When Te Deums seek the skies,

When the Organ shakes the Dome,

A dead man shall stand

At each live man's hand -

For they also have come home.

Aye

Malcolm

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Guest rarpos7

Can I recommend the following book, which I found to be very interesting, and opened up the field of WW1 poetry and literature to me.

The book is: The Great War and Modern Memory written by Paul Fussell.

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