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Remembered Today:

Great War Poetry


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Always liked this one. Do not know if it is a poem or a prayer or who wrote it.


The Neutral.

" Brethern, how shall it fare with me when the war is laid aside, If it be proven that I am he For whom a world has died? If it be proven that all my good, And the greater good, I will make, Were purchased for me by a multitude Who suffered for my sake? That I was delivered by mere mankind, Vowed to one sacrifice, And not as I hold them, battle-blind, But dying with opened eyes? That they did not ask me to draw the sword When they stood to endure their lot, That they only looked to me for a word, And I answered I knew them not? If it be found, when the battle clears, Their death has set me free, Then how shall I live with myself through the years Which they have bought for me? Brethren, how must it fare with me, Or how am I justified, If it be proven that I am he For whom mankind has died; If it be proven that I am he Who being questioned denied?".


It hits hard, no standing to one side with this one.


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The poems of Wilfred Owen

Owen, Wilfred; Editor Stallworthy, Jon

London: Hogarth Press, 1988.

The greatest poets of the First World War. Winner of the MC,

Wilfred Owen fought and died in the Great War,a few days before The Armistice was signed.

46 poems and 11 fragments .Includes "Anthem for Doomed Youth,Dulce et Decorum".



Cotter, Joseph Seamon, Jr. (edited by James Robert Payne.)

Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990.

The first collected edition of the poems of this young African American writer who died from tuberculosis at the age of 23. A precursor to the Harlem Renaissance, his poems deal with the effects of WWI on his people and on racial injustice. Included are seven recently discovered, and previously unpublished poems. *****************************************************************

Search www.abebooks.com if you are looking for a copy.


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For Frev and Marina,

Have done some research on John Still, He was in the 6th East Yorkshires, dont know what rank, but he was at Suvla Bay when he was captured, given that the lower ranks werent treated too well I presume he must have been an Officer.

Anyway here the poem you asked for frev.

The Little Owl

In the dark when quiet reigns,

Through the night when all is still,

While the silence upon the plains,

I hear you hooting on the hill.

Though the snow lies over all,

Spring is in the note you call.

Weird and wild the song you sing,

Passing by with silent flight,

Calling to the coming spring

Through the darkness of the night.

First are you of birds to know

Love comes swift behind the snow.

Welcome to your hopeful song,

for the message that you bring.

Were old winter twice as strong,

Yield he must before young spring;

As the bitter night of sorrow

Flies before the sun tomorrow.

Written at a place called " Afion Kara Hissar"

The first few verses from The Ballad of Suvla Bay.

The Landing

A bell rang in the engine room,

And with the ceasing of the sound

Small noises sprang to life all around.

Across the water, in the glom,

We saw the coast like a long low mound.

The water babbled along the hull,

The scent of thyme was in the air,

Borne from the shore just over there,

And in that momentary lill

To me the world seemed very fair.

The sweetly-scented starlit hills

Breathed of bees and summer flowers

Dreaming throughthe midnight hours,

While fates slow grinding mills

Rolled their resistless powers.

Suddenly the shots rang out, and flashes

Shattered the dark with stabbing stings,

And bullets borne on whistleing wings

Rang on the hull, or made small splashes

Like living ,eager,evil things.

Then a rally of shots cut the air,

A rattle and then a shout;

And we who looked eagerly out

Heard the roar of a British cheer,

So we knew the Yorkshires were there.

Theres another 36 verses if anyone would like more let me know

it would have to be done a few at a time


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I wouldn't mind a few more verses of that, Len, when you have the time. The description of the 'starlit hills' contrasted with the 'living eager evil things' was striking - and I get the feeling he has a whole story to tell.


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Always liked this one. Do not know if it is a poem or a prayer or who wrote it.


The Neutral.


It's a poem by Rudyard Kipling, written in 1916, and also known by the title "The Question".

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When the crew from the AE2 (Aussie submarine) were captured they were first jailed in Constantinople / Istanbul, and then, along with other Aussie, British & French troops - "ferried across the Bosphorus, then put on a train destined for the prisoner of war camp at Afyonkarahisar, a small town in Anatolia. The camp housed Russian as well as Gallipoli prisoners, but its numbers were never large as neither side took many prisoners on Gallipoli."

[from 'A Turkish View of Gallipoli - Canakkale']

It's good to see that the Owl could bring John hope - in what must have seemed a hopeless situation.

I'd also like to hear more (all, if possible) of the Ballad of Suvla Bay - when you've got the time.


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It's a poem by Rudyard Kipling, written in 1916

Thank's Frev, always wondered.

Always thought it had to with the sea war and neutral ships/countries but now I am having to have a rethink.


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If anybody is interested in Wilfred Owen works I can post or email the following poems;

· Strange Meeting

· Greater Love

· Apologia pro Poemate Meo

· The Show

· Mental Cases

· Parable of the Old Men and the Young

· Arms and the Boy

· Anthem for Doomed Youth

· The Send−off

· Insensibility

· Dulce et Decorum est

· The Sentry

· The Dead−Beat

· Exposure

· Spring Offensive

· The Chances

· S. I. W.

· Futility

· Smile, Smile, Smile

· Conscious

· A Terre

· Wild with all Regrets

· Disabled

· The End

Wilfred Owen was born at Oswestry on 18th March 1893. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute, matriculated at London University in 1910. In 1913 he obtained a private tutorship near Bordeaux, where he remained until 1915. During this period he became acquainted with the eminent French poet, Laurent Tailhade, to whom he showed his early verses, and from whom he received considerable encouragement.

In 1915, in spite of delicate health, he joined the Artists' Rifles O.T.C., was gazetted to the Manchester Regiment, and served with their 2nd Battalion in France from December 1916 to June 1917, when he was invalided home. Fourteen months later he returned to the Western Front and served with the same Battalion, ultimately commanding a Company.

He was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry while taking part in some heavy fighting on 1st October. He was killed on 4th November 1918, while endeavouring to get his men across the Sambre Canal.


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Rudyard Kipling is not normally thought of as a WWI poet, but he did some very moving pieces about the war. His products run the entire range of attitudes discussed above. His first one "For all we have and are" was in the patriotic, anti-German mood of 1914. Later, he showed all of the understanding and compassion for the individual soldier and thier families which his earlier works show so well. In 1915 his works began to show the anti-politician and anti-General Staff attitude of so many poets of that period, exemplified by one called "Mesopotamia". His work became more evocative and sadder after the death of his only son John at the Battle of Loos. Some of his poems are very evocative, but hard to understand, such as "Gethsemene" and "A Death-Bed".

Perhaps my favorite though, is "The Children"

These were our children who died for our lands: they were dear in our sight.

We have only the memory left of their home-treasured sayings and laughter.

The price of our loss shall be paid to our hands, not another's hereafter.

Neither the Alien nor Priest shall decide on it. That is our right.

But who will return us the children?

At the hour the Barbarian chose to disclose his pretences,

And raged against Man, they engaged, on the breasts that they bared for us,

The first felon-stroke of the sword he had long-prepared for us--

Their bodies were all our defence while we wrought our defences.

They bought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us,

Those hours which we had not made good when the Judgement o'ercame us.

They believed us and perished for it. Our statecraft, our learning

Delivered them bound to the Pit and alive to the burning

Wither they mirthfully hastened as jostling for honor--

Not since her birth has our Earth seen such worth loosed upon her.

Nor was their agony brief, or once only imposed on them.

The wounded, the war-spent, the sick received no exemption;

Being cured they returned and endured and achieved our redemption,

Hopeless themselves of relief, till Death, marvelling closed on them.

That Flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanliness was given

To Corruption unveiled and assailed by the malice of Heaven

By the heart-shaking jests of Decay where it lolled on the wires--

To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes-- to be cindered by fires--

From crater to crater. For this we shall take expiation.

But, who shall return us our children?

Another of his works, "The Mother's Son", depicts the plight of a mental casualty of the war.

I have a dream-- a dreadful dream--

A dream that is never done.

I watch a man go out of his mind,

And he is My Mother's Son.

They pushed him into a Mental Home,

And that is like the grave:

Fort they do not let you sleep upstairs,

And you aren't allowed to shave.

And it was not disease or crime

Which got him landed there,

But because They laid on My Mother's Son,

More than a man could bear.

What with noise, and fear of death,

Waking and wounds and cold,

They filled the Cup for My Mother's Son

Further than it could hold.

They broke his body and his mind

And yet They made him live,

And They asked more of My Mother's Son

Than any man could give.

For, just because he had not died,

Nor been discharged nor sick.

They dragged it out with My Mother's Son

Longer than he could stick....

And no one knows when he'll get well--

So, there he'll have to be;

And, 'spite of the beard in the looking-glass,

I know that man is me!

If you are looking at WWI poets, Kipling is well worth looking into. Doc2

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frev, A few more verses of Suvla Bay

Then at last it was our turn to land

From the slow panting barge, crammed as tight

As a theatre, and all full of fight

We sprang out on the enemy strand,

In the dark of that wonderful night.

Deep in my mind and ever bright

Remains that first impress of war;

The feeling of that foreign shore;

The sounds, the scents, the starry night;

Fresh from that hour for evermore.

The breath of the thyme that we crushed;

The bodies that lay as in sleep,

The noises that made our hearts leap

When we thought we were going to be rushed

As the slow paced columns creep.

The rumbling gunsof Sed-ul-Bahr

Roared and muttered, we heard the crash

Of high explosive, and saw the flash

That lit the hills with magnesium star

To guard from a sudden dash.

But these were all to far away

To claim our wonder very long;

The glow in the east was waxing strong

And we knew that with the dawning day

We should join in the deep-voiced song.

The end of the first stanza of Suvla Bay "The Landing".

The next one is called "SHRAPNELL"


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That goes well with 'The Reward' , Doc

Liam - my favourote line in all the war poems is from owen's #Anthem For Doomed Youth' :

'Not in the nands of boys but in their eyes shall shine the holy glimmer of goodbyes'


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The Watchers Edmund Blunden

I heard the challenge "Who goes there?"

Close kept but mine through midnight air

I answered and was recognized

And passed, and kindly thus advised;

"There's someone crawling though the grass

By the red ruin, or there was,

And them machine guns been a firin'

All the time the chaps was wirin',

So Sir if you're goin' out

You'll keep you 'ead well down no doubt."

When will the stern fine "Who goes there?"

Meet me again in midnight air?

And the gruff sentry's kindness, when

Will kindness have such power again?

It seems as, now I wake and brood,

And know my hour's decreptitude,

That on some dewy parapet

the sentry's spirit gazes yet,

Who will not speak with altered tone

When I am last am seem and known.

Butchers and Tombs Ivor Gurney

After so much bettering of fire and steel

It had seemed well to cover them with Cotswold stone-

And shortly praising their courage and quick skill

Leave them buried, hidden till the slow, inevitable

Change should make them service of France alone.

But the time's hurry, the commonness of the tale,

Made it a thing not fitting ceremonial.

And so the disregarders of blister on heel,

Pack on shoulder, barrage and work at the wires,

One wooden cross had for ensign of honour and life


Save when the Gloucesters turning sudden to tell to one

Some joke, would remember and say-"That joke is done,"

Since he who would understand was so cold he could not feel,

And clay binds hard, and sandbags get rotten and crumble.

In Memoriam Edward Thomas

The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood

This Eastertide call into mind the men,

Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts,


Have gathered them and will never do again.

Also Lamplight by May Wedderbern Cannon.

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1916 seen from 1921

Tired with dull grief, grown old before my day,

I sit in solitude and only hear

Long silent laughters, murmurings of dismay,

The lost intensities of hope and fear;

In those old marshes yet the rifles lie,

On the thin breastwork flutter the grey rags,

The very books I read are there—and I

Dead as the men I loved, wait while life drags

Its wounded length from those sad streets of war

Into green places here, that were my own;

But now what once was mine is mine no more,

I seek such neighbours here and I find none.

With such strong gentleness and tireless will

Those ruined houses seared themselves in me,

Passionate I look for their dumb story still,

And the charred stub outspeaks the living tree.

I rise up at the singing of a bird

And scarcely knowing slink along the lane,

I dare not give a soul a look or word

Where all have homes and none’s at home in vain:

Deep red the rose burned in the grim redoubt,

The self-sown wheat around was like a flood,

In the hot path the lizard lolled time out,

The saints in broken shrines were bright as blood.

Sweet Mary’s shrine between the sycamores!

There we would go, my friend of friends and I,

And snatch long moments from the grudging wars,

Whose dark made light intense to see them by.

Shrewd bit the morning fog, the whining shots

Spun from the wrangling wire: then in warm swoon

The sun hushed all but the cool orchard plots,

We crept in the tall grass and slept till noon.

Edmund Blunden

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extracted fromhttp://www.thenortheast.com/archives/UserGuides/20_WW1.html

North Tyneside

Wor Contemptible British Army and The Big Push, two poems printed in aid of the Nurse Cavell Memorial Fund for Disabled Nurses DBC 1845/362

Poem about Kaiser Wilhelm, Is There Anyone I've Forgot DF/WF/22/1

Tyne & Wear Archives Service

Blandford House

Blandford Square

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA

United Kingdom

Who wrote these poems?


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No Marina,

I am thinking of ordering some other WW1 stuff from them and if these are special poems I was thinking of ordering copies of these documents as well.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice site with poems from "Lost Poets" :

Rupert Brooke

John McCrae

Wilfred Owen

Isaac Rosenberg

Alan Seeger

Edward Thomas

click here==> Lost Poets


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John Buchan is one of my favourite writers.

This is his poem "On Leave"

I had auchteen months o' the war,

Steel and pouther and reek,

Fitsore, weary and wauf, -

Syne I got hame for a week.

Daft-like I entered the toun,

I scarcely kenned for my ain.

I sleepit twae days in my bed,

The third I buried my wean.

The wife sat greetin' at hame,

While I wandered oot to the hill,

My hert as cauld as a stane,

But my heid gaun roond like a mill.

I wasna the man I had been, -

Juist a gangrel dozin' in fits; -

The pin had faun oot o' the warld,

And I doddered amang the bits.

I clamb to the Lammerlaw

And sat me doun on the cairn; -

The best o' my freends were deid,

And noo I had buried my bairn; -

The stink o' the gas in my nose,

The colour o' bluid in my ee,

And the biddin' o' Hell in my lug

To curse my Maker and dee.

But up in that gloamin' hour,

On the heather and thymy sod,

Wi' the sun gaun down in the Wast

I made my peace wi' God...

I saw a thoosand hills,

Green and gowd i' the licht,

Roond and backit like sheep,

Huddle into the nicht.

But I kenned they werena hills,

But the same as the mounds ye see

Doun by the back o' the line

Whaur they bury oor lads that dee.

They were juist the same as at Loos

Whaur we happit Andra and Dave. -

There was naething in life but death,

And a' the warld was a grave.

A' the hills were graves,

The graves o' the deid langsyne,

And somewhere oot in the Wast

Was the grummlin' battle-line.

But up frae the howe o' the glen

Came the waft o' the simmer een.

The stink gaed oot o' my nose,

And I sniffed it, caller and clean.

The smell o' the simmer hills,

Thyme and hinny and heather,

Jeniper, birk and fern,

Rose in the lown June weather.

It minded me o' auld days,

When I wandered barefit there,

Guddlin' troot in the burns,

Howkin' the tod frae his lair.

If a' the hills were graves

There was peace for the folk aneath

And peace for the folk abune,

And life in the hert o' death . ..

Up frae the howe o' the glen

Cam the murmur o' wells that creep

To swell the heids o' the burns,

And the kindly voices o' sheep.

And the cry o' a whaup on the wing,

And a plover seekin' its bield. -

And oot o' my crazy lugs

Went the din o' the battlefield.

I flang me doun on my knees

And I prayed as my hert wad break,

And I got my answer sune,

For oot o' the nicht God spake.

As a man that wauks frae a stound

And kens but a single thocht,

Oot o' the wind and the nicht

I got the peace that I socht.

Loos and the Lammerlaw,

The battle was feucht in baith,

Death was roond and abune,

But life in the hert o' death.

A' the warld was a grave,

But the grass on the graves was green,

And the stanes were bields for hames,

And the laddies played atween.

Kneelin' aside the cairn

On the heather and thymy sod,

The place I had kenned as a bairn,

I made my peace wi' God.

John Buchan (1916)

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