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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:03 am 
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Bombing Casulaties Spain

Sir Herbert Read

Dolls' faces are rosier but these were children
their eyes not glass but gleaming gristle
dark lenses in whose quick silvery glances
the sunlight quivered. These blenched lips
were warm once and bright with blood
but blood
held in a moist blob of flesh
not spilt and spatter'd in tousled hair.

In these shadowy tresses
red petals did not always
thus clot and blacken to a scar.

These are dead faces:
wasps' nests are not more wanly waxen
wood embers not so greyly ashen.

They are laid out in ranks
like paper lanterns that have fallen
after a night of riot
extinct in the dry morning air.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:44 pm 
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THE SEND-OFF

Down the close darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.

Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men's are, dead.

Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp
Stood staring hard,
Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.

Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.

So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
They were not ours:
We never heard to which front these were sent.

Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.

Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild train-loads?
A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,

May creep back, silent, to still village wells
Up half-known roads.

Wilfred Owen


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:51 pm 
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The Last Laugh

Wilfred Owen


'Oh! Jesus Christ! I'm hit,' he said; and died.
Whether he vainly cursed or prayed indeed,
The Bullets chirped-In vain, vain, vain!
Machine-guns chuckled,-Tut-tut! Tut-tut!
And the Big Gun guffawed.

Another sighed,-'O Mother, -Mother, - Dad!'
Then smiled at nothing, childlike, being dead.
And the lofty Shrapnel-cloud
Leisurely gestured,-Fool!
And the splinters spat, and tittered.

'My Love!' one moaned. Love-languid seemed his mood,
Till slowly lowered, his whole faced kissed the mud.
And the Bayonets' long teeth grinned;
Rabbles of Shells hooted and groaned;
And the Gas hissed.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:33 pm 
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They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:36 am 
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Courtesy of the Guardian, Carol Ann Duffy's 'The Christmas Truce: A Poem For Armistice Day'


http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/no ... -ann-duffy


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:25 am 
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The Chances

Wilfred Owen

I mind as 'ow the night afore that show
Us five got talking, — we was in the know,
"Over the top to-morrer; boys, we're for it,
First wave we are, first ruddy wave; that's tore it."
"Ah well," says Jimmy, — an' 'e's seen some scrappin' —
"There ain't more nor five things as can 'appen;
Ye get knocked out; else wounded — bad or cushy;
Scuppered; or nowt except yer feeling mushy."
One of us got the knock-out, blown to chops.
T'other was hurt, like, losin' both 'is props.
An' one, to use the word of 'ypocrites,
'Ad the misfortoon to be took by Fritz.
Now me, I wasn't scratched, praise God Almighty
(Though next time please I'll thank 'im for a blighty),
But poor young Jim, 'e's livin' an' 'e's not;
'E reckoned 'e'd five chances, an' 'e's 'ad;
'E's wounded, killed, and pris'ner, all the lot —
The ruddy lot all rolled in one. Jim's mad.


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:34 pm 
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By the Great Wall
by: Li Bai (701-762)
translated by Shigeyoshi Obata




I
Came the barbarian horde with the autumn;
Out went the imperial army from the House of Han.
The general has divided the tiger tallies,
And the dunes of White Dragon are now
The camping ground of the brave.
The moon in the wilderness
Follows the movement of his bow,
And upon his sword the desert frost blossoms.
He has not even entered this side of the Jewel Gate Pass.
But do not heave a long sigh, O little wife!
II
He rides his white charger by the Fortalice of Gold,
She wanders in dreams amid the desert cloud and sand.
It is a season of sorrow that she scarce can endure,
Thinking of her soldier lover at the border fort.
The fireflies, flitting about, swarm at her window,
While the moon slowly passes over her solitary bower.
The leaves of the green paulonia are tattered;
And the branches of the sha-tung blasted and sere.
There is not an hour but she, alone, unseen,
Weeps--only to learn how futile all her tears are.


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:40 am 
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Gethsemane



1914-18



The Garden called Gethsemane

In Picardy it was,

And there the people came to see

The English soldiers pass.

We used to pass – we used to pass

Or halt, as it might be,

And ship our masks in case of gas

Beyond Gethsemane.



The Garden called Gethsemane,

It held a pretty lass,

But all the time she talked to me

I prayed my cup might pass.

The officer sat on the chair,

The men lay on the grass,

And all the time we halted there

I prayed my cup might pass.



It didn’t pass – it didn’t pass –

It didn’t pass from me.

I drank it when we met the gas

Beyond Gethsemane.


Rudyard Kipling


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 8:27 pm 
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The Next War



War's a joke for me and you,
Wile we know such dreams are true.
- Siegfried Sassoon



Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death,-
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,-
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,-
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorussed when he sang aloft,
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against His powers.
We laughed, -knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars: when each proud fighter brags
He wars on Death, for lives; not men, for flags.


Wilfred Owen


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:49 am 
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A Terre

(Being the philosophy of many Soldiers.)

Wilfred Owen


Sit on the bed; I'm blind, and three parts shell,
Be careful; can't shake hands now; never shall.
Both arms have mutinied against me -- brutes.
My fingers fidget like ten idle brats.

I tried to peg out soldierly -- no use!
One dies of war like any old disease.
This bandage feels like pennies on my eyes.
I have my medals? -- Discs to make eyes close.
My glorious ribbons? -- Ripped from my own back
In scarlet shreds. (That's for your poetry book.)

A short life and a merry one, my brick!
We used to say we'd hate to live dead old, --
Yet now . . . I'd willingly be puffy, bald,
And patriotic. Buffers catch from boys
At least the jokes hurled at them. I suppose
Little I'd ever teach a son, but hitting,
Shooting, war, hunting, all the arts of hurting.
Well, that's what I learnt, -- that, and making money.
Your fifty years ahead seem none too many?
Tell me how long I've got? God! For one year
To help myself to nothing more than air!
One Spring! Is one too good to spare, too long?
Spring wind would work its own way to my lung,
And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.
My servant's lamed, but listen how he shouts!
When I'm lugged out, he'll still be good for that.
Here in this mummy-case, you know, I've thought
How well I might have swept his floors for ever,
I'd ask no night off when the bustle's over,
Enjoying so the dirt. Who's prejudiced
Against a grimed hand when his own's quite dust,
Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn,
Less warm than dust that mixes with arms' tan?
I'd love to be a sweep, now, black as Town,
Yes, or a muckman. Must I be his load?

O Life, Life, let me breathe, -- a dug-out rat!
Not worse than ours the existences rats lead --
Nosing along at night down some safe vat,
They find a shell-proof home before they rot.
Dead men may envy living mites in cheese,
Or good germs even. Microbes have their joys,
And subdivide, and never come to death,
Certainly flowers have the easiest time on earth.
"I shall be one with nature, herb, and stone."
Shelley would tell me. Shelley would be stunned;
The dullest Tommy hugs that fancy now.
"Pushing up daisies," is their creed, you know.
To grain, then, go my fat, to buds my sap,
For all the usefulness there is in soap.
D'you think the Boche will ever stew man-soup?
Some day, no doubt, if . . .
Friend, be very sure
I shall be better off with plants that share
More peaceably the meadow and the shower.
Soft rains will touch me, -- as they could touch once,
And nothing but the sun shall make me ware.
Your guns may crash around me. I'll not hear;
Or, if I wince, I shall not know I wince.
Don't take my soul's poor comfort for your jest.
Soldiers may grow a soul when turned to fronds,
But here the thing's best left at home with friends.

My soul's a little grief, grappling your chest,
To climb your throat on sobs; easily chased
On other sighs and wiped by fresher winds.

Carry my crying spirit till it's weaned
To do without what blood remained these wounds.


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:49 pm 
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Arms and the Boy (1917)

Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with all malice, like a madman’s flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.

Lend him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-heads
Which long to muzzle in the hearts of lads.
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth,
Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.

For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.


Wilfred Owen


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:20 pm 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23343677

news of a lost WW2 pilot and crew discovered and given a military funeral. Sergeant Pilot Raikes was a poet


LET IT BE HUSHED

by David Raikes (d.21.4.1945)

Let it be hushed; let the deep ocean close
Upon these dead. Others may laud their parts,
Raise monuments of marble in their names.
But we who flew with them and laughed with them,
We other crews who, living side by side,
In outward contacts slowly came to know
Their inmost parts, would rather leave untouched
The wound we healed, the love we buried there.

These men knew moments you have never known,
Nor ever will; we knew those moments too,
And talked of them in whispers late at night;
Such confidence was born of danger shared.
We shared their targets, too; but we came back.
Lightly we talked of it. We packed their kit,
Divided up such common useful things
As cigarettes and chocolate, rations stored
Against a rainy day that never came.

‘And they cast lots among them!’ Someone said,
‘It was a pity that he wore his watch;
It was a good one, twenty pounds he said
He paid for it in Egypt. Now, let’s see,
Who’s on tonight. Ah, Taffy – you’ve a good one!
You’d better leave it with me.’ And we laughed.

Cold were we? Cold at heart. You get that way.
Sometimes we knew what happened; how they crashed.
It was not always on the other side.
One pranged upon the runway, dipped a wing,
The navigator bought it, and the gunner.
The other two got out, a little shaken.

Bob crashed when doing an air test, just low flying
– At least they think it was, they couldn’t say.
The plane was burning fiercely when they found it;
One man thrown clear, still living, but he died
On way to hospital. The loss was ours, –
Because I shared an aeroplane with Bob.

We had to get another D for dog.
And some did not come back. We never knew
Whether they lived – at first just overdue,
Till minutes changed to hours, and still no news.
One went to bed; but roused by later crews,
Asked ‘Were they back yet?’ and being answered ‘No’,
Went back to sleep.

One’s waking eyes sought out the empty beds,
And ‘Damn’, you said, ‘another kit to pack’;
I never liked that part, you never knew
What privacies your sorting might lay bare.
I always tried to leave my kit arranged
In decent tidiness. You never knew.
But that is past. The healing river flows
And washes clean the wound with passing years.
We grieve not now. There was a time for tears,
When Death stood by us, and we dared not weep.
Let the seas close above them, and the dissolving deep.


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:50 pm 
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Tomorrow night - BBC2 - 9pm 'The Wipers Times'.
THe WT was the trench newspaper which was kept going under heavy bombardment until the war was over. It's a marvellous story. And the articles and poems in it - well, they were first class.


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:02 pm 
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A feast for everyone tonight - Carol Ann duffy invited modern day poets to respond to war poets and writers in verse and th results are here. The first poem may be Heaney's last verse. The other poets are down the margin on the right, paired with the writer they are responding to - some very good pieces here.


http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/o ... s-war-poem


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 Post subject: Re: War Poetry
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:36 pm 
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Our bodies? We fell like petals,
Bullets stemmed from stalking metals
Bloomed red flowers in our fields.

Grown tall at home, our time, our sun
Grew brief; harvested, every one
Was threshed, fresh poor chaff the yields

From ripe Flanders rows. So cropped short
By gunfire, shredded by retort
Of combined machines, we baled

Trodden down by those ploughed in mud
Who furrowed onwards behind. Blood
Was the land, and young buds failed.

_________________
"It's too short!
We need more monkeys! "


Last edited by Richard on Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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