Printable Version of Topic
Click here to view this topic in its original format
Celtic Radio Community > Poems > War Poems

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 10:47 AM
Bivouac On A Mountain Side

I see before me now a traveling army halting,
Below a fertile valley spread, with barns and the orchards of summer,
Behind, the terraced sides of a mountain, abrupt, in places rising high,
Broken, with rocks, with clinging cedars, with tall shapes dingily seen,
The numerous camp-fires scatter'd near and far, some away up on the mountain,
The shadowy forms of men and horses, looming, large-sized, flickering,
And all over the sky--the sky! far, far out of reach, studded, breaking out,
the eternal stars.

Walt Whitman

Posted by: Lady-of-Avalon 11-Jan-2009, 11:25 AM
That is a beautiful poem about a traveling army on it's way to war...and as we read it we can certainly see it as he did for it must have been a striking sight in the night sky!!!

Thank you for sharing it with us tallerlacuba.

LOA smile.gif

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 11:48 AM
The Bivouac In The Snow

Halt! - the march is over,
Day is almost done;
Loose the cumbrous knapsack,
Drop the heavy gun.
Chilled and wet and weary,
Wander to and fro,
Seeking wood to kindle
Fires amidst the snow.

Round the bright blaze gather,
Heed not sleet or cold;
Ye are Spartan soldiers,
Stout and brave and bold.
Never Xerxian army
Yet subdued a foe
Who but asked a blanket
On a bed of snow.

Shivering, 'midst the darkness,
Christian men are found,
There devoutly kneeling
On the frozen ground -
Pleading for their country,
In its hour of woe -
For the soldiers marching
Shoeless through the snow.

Lost in heavy slumbers,
Free from toil and strife,
Dreaming of their dear ones -
Home, and child, and wife -
Tentless they are lying,
While the fires burn low -
Lying in their blankets
'Midst December's snow.

Margaret Junkin Preston

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 11:51 AM
I¡m glad you to like it dear Queen.

There are winds of war in our kingdom and it's always good to see the other hand of the war.

Specially as this is just a game.

tallerlacuba of Idealand

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 12:28 PM
Shiloh - A Requiem
(April 1862)

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
The forest-field of Shiloh -
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
Around the church of Shiloh -
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
And natural prayer
Of dying foemen mingled there -
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve
Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
And all is hushed at Shiloh.

Herman Melville

Posted by: Lady-of-Avalon 11-Jan-2009, 12:57 PM
QUOTE (tallerlacuba @ 11-Jan-2009, 12:51 PM)
I¡m glad you to like it dear Queen.

There are winds of war in our kingdom and it's always good to see the other hand of the war.

Specially as this is just a game.

tallerlacuba of Idealand

Dear tallerlacuba,

Though I am not the moderator of this forum by all means.I just would like to point out though that these forums should not in any way be associated with the game.

These forums are intended for members that are interested in poetry.A place to share their own compositions, and read about them, and comment on them.
Not intended or related to the game in any way.

Without offense please understand that you can post poems that you find could be of interests for the members of Celtic Radio but do not refer the meanings of them to the game for they are irrelevant in these forums.

Anything that you are posting and post it in reference to the game should be posted in MK. not in other threads or forums.

I read this poem and commented on it from my personal view therefore was not done so in regards of the game at all.And my title as "Queen" is irrelevant in here for I am Lady of Avalon.

I hope you understand.
Just a friendly advice to you.

LOA smile.gif

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 01:11 PM
Dauntless Dan

The cry went up for volunteers
To join the battle van
And then we gave three lusty cheers
And said here's Dauntless Dan!
For years upon the football field
He's been well to the fore
But to no living man he'll yield
In hatred of the Boer
They tried his ardour for to damp
By regulations stringent
But now he's in the Newtown Camp
Among the Fifth Contingent
They took him to the rifle butts
To try how he could aim
Although they said both eyes he shut
He got there all the same
He passed well through the riding test
Without a single spill
And now he ranks among the best
Does the Dauntless Dan McGill

Maurice McGill (for his father - Boer War 1899-1902)

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 01:20 PM
Sorry Dear lady,

I didn't try to talk about the game here, I just mentioned it accidentally when trying to thank you, butI have posted just the poems without any reference to anything or anybody.

In any case I understand what you mean and you can be sure I won't do it.

Have a NiceDay

tallerlacuba of Idealand

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Jan-2009, 01:26 PM
Drummer Hodge

They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined - just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around;
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the Drummer never knew -
Fresh from his Wessex home -
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge forever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellation reign
His stars eternally.

Thomas Hardy (Boer War)

Posted by: Killian 11-Jan-2009, 03:14 PM
Very nice poems - yes indeed - lets just be careful about copyright. If these are recent poems created by an author or writer we need their permission to post. If they are older 50+ years or so or public domain then it probably is ok.

thanks! angel_not.gif

Posted by: tallerlacuba 12-Jan-2009, 07:02 PM
Thank you Lady killian

I'll be carefull of that.

tallerlacuba of Idealand

Posted by: tallerlacuba 12-Jan-2009, 07:05 PM

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may -
'You bike,' 'you bikwe,' 'ubbikwe' - alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest,
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.

Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill -
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do stand, still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.

Ubique means Blue Fuse1, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail. 1extreme range
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold.

Ubique means 'Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way -
The soothin' jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means 'They've caught De Wet, an' now we sha'n't be long.'
Ubique means 'I much regret, the beggar's going strong!'

Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means the mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors.

Ubique means 'Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein'!
Ubique means 'Off-load your guns' - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means 'More mounted men. Return all guns to store.'
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps!

Ubique means the warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes,
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: 'The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!'

Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -

Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: tallerlacuba 13-Jan-2009, 05:45 PM

The glamour gone, some scattered graves and memories dim remain:
With his old pals across the field, he'll never trek again;
But yet there's nothing he regrets as he awaits his Call,
For what was done or lost or won, he did his bit - that's all.

Sergeant 4486

Posted by: stoirmeil 14-Jan-2009, 11:04 AM
Have a look into the crop of poems that came out of one of those wars where the completely crushed and outmastered losers were also the unequivocal "good guys" -- the Spanish Civil War. There is a Penguin anthology of Spanish Civil War poetry in print. I recommend the poems of Miles Tomalin, whose beautiful work ranged in style from Kipling-esque, to something more like Whitman, to something like Frost, to modern free verse. Here is a lyric of his that takes from the poetic tradition of the fallen dead speaking to the living, but because of the political shadow over this war, it has a bitterness and ambivalence that earlier, more patriotic British war poetry (like "In Flanders Fields") does not carry -- except maybe for Wilfred Owen, whom you might also like looking at, if this stuff interests you. Had there been a real response from the nations to this run-up war in Spain during the rise of Fascism, the incredible destruction of World War II might have been greatly held back:

To England from the English Dead

We who were English once had eyes and saw
The savage greed of those who made this war
Tear up from earth, like a hog loose in flowers
So many lives as young and strong as ours.
You, England, stood apart from Spain’s affair,
You said you were secure in sea and cliff
While others sank in filthy war, as if
You kept some old virginity in there.
While the black armies marched and the dead fell,
You told your English people all was well,
And shutting eyes to war was finding peace.
You told them once, all slavery must cease.
Dishonourable England! We in Spain
Who died, died proudly, but not in your name;
Our friends will keep the love we felt for you
Among your moist green landscapes and smooth hills,
Talk of it over honest window sills
And teach our children we were not untrue.
Not for those others, more like alien men
Who, quick to please our slayers, let them pass,
Not for them,
We English lie beneath the Spanish grass.

Miles Tomalin

(The reference "Not for those others . . .who . . .let them pass" makes reference to the republican battle cry "No pasaran" -- they shall not pass.)

Posted by: Camac 14-Jan-2009, 01:02 PM
Legate, I had the news last night, my cohort ordered home
By ship to Portus Itius and then by road to Rome.
I've marched the companies aboard, the arms are stacked below:
Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go.

I've served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall
I have none other home than this, nor any life at all
Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
That call me to my native land, I feel that land is here.

Here where men say my name was made, here where my work
was done;
Here where my dearest dead are laid, my wife--my wife and son;
Here where time, custom, grief and toil, age, memory, service, love
Have rooted me in British soil. Ah how can I remove?

For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folks and fields surfice
What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern skies,
Black with Decembers snows unshed or pearled with August haze
The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or Junes long-lighted days?

You'll follow widening Rhodanus till vine and olive lean
Aslant before the summer breeze that sweeps Nemausus clean
To Arelates' triple gate; but let me linger on,
Here where our stiff-necked British oaks confront Euroclydon!

You'll take the old Aurelian Road through shore decending pines
Where blue as any peacocks' neck, the Tyrrhene Ocean shines
You'll go where laurel crowns are won, but will you er'er forget
The scent of hawthorn in the sun, or bracken when it's wet?

Let me work here for Britains' sake, at any task you will
A marsh to drain, a road to make, or native troops to drill.
Some Western camp (I know the Pict) or granite border keep,
Mid seas of heather derelict, where our old messmates sleep.

Legate, I come to you in tears, My cohort ordered home!
I've served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
Here is my heart, my soul, my mind, the only life I know.
I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go


Posted by: Camac 15-Jan-2009, 10:28 AM
When you are standing at your Hero's grave,
Or near some homeless village where he died,
Remember, through your heart's rekindling pride,
The German soldiers who were loyal and brave.

Men fought like brutes; and hideous things were done;
And you have nourished hatred harsh and blind.
But in that Golgotha perhaps you'll find
The mothers of the men who killed your son.

Siegfried Sassoon 1918

Posted by: tallerlacuba 15-Jan-2009, 04:36 PM
Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem with us.


Posted by: tallerlacuba 15-Jan-2009, 04:37 PM
What Time the Bugle Blew

From kauri-clad Wairoa
Rich in her tropic charms, -
Otago's rugged stations, -
And Canterbury's farms;
From where the West Coast miners
Toil for the coal and gold -
From boiling Rotorua -
From Southern Ranges cold -
From hill and bay and headland,
In all the country through -
They rallied to the Red Cross
What time the bugle blew.

Yes! 'Twas the bugle blew!
The Empire's summons flew;
The Long White Cloud re-echoed loud,
What time the bugle blew!

On Afric's rock-strewn sand-wastes -
On kopje, spruit and veldt,
The burning day, the chilling night,
Hunger and thirst they felt.
The hard and constant duty -
The skirmish or attack -
The hillside bare, the scanty fare -
The lonely bivouac;
Ten months of stern warfare,
Nor rest, nor pause, they knew -
But they were there when wanted
What time the bugle blew.

Yes - when the bugle blew
Weary and worn and few,
They did what they were asked to do
Whene'er the bugle blew

They fought `neath famous leaders,
Alongside comrades bold,
Whose names ring out like clarions
Where'er war's tale is told.
Their foe was brave and stubborn,
Who mostly smote unseen -
Fever and ball drank up their blood,
Their baptism was keen.
Did they disgrace the Southern Stars
That gave the Field of Blue?
Go, ask the men who watched them,/What time the bugle blew!
No! When the bugle blew
They did what they could do;
Zealandia's sons were 'mid the guns
What time the bugle blew.

Now many are returning,
Shattered in health and frame;
And many sleep beneath the sand
For Queen and Empire's fame.
But Anglo-Saxon deeds and blood
Aye grapple friendship fast,
And like the glowing Future
To the mighty storied Past.
Now when their homeward tramp resounds
Where fern and rata grow,
The heart and hand of Maoriland
Bids Honour's bugle blow.

That heart - that hand - are due
To those whose laurels grew
Twined round the Southern Standard
What time the bugle blew.

M Nalder

Posted by: tallerlacuba 19-Jan-2009, 10:50 AM

Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!

Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there’s no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart’s long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.

Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Posted by: tallerlacuba 19-Jan-2009, 01:23 PM

Dear! of all happy in the hour, most blest
He who has found our hid security,
Assured in the dark tides of the world that rest,
And heard our word, 'Who is so safe as we?'
We have found safety with all things undying,
The winds, and morning, tears of men and mirth,
The deep night, and birds singing, and clouds flying,
And sleep, and freedom, and the autumnal earth.
We have built a house that is not for Time's throwing.
We have gained a peace unshaken by pain for ever.
War knows no power. Safe shall be my going,
Secretly armed against all death's endeavour;
Safe though all safety's lost; safe where men fall;
And if these poor limbs die, safest of all.

Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Posted by: tallerlacuba 20-Jan-2009, 09:56 AM
The Dead

Blow out, you bugles over the rich dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene
That men call age; and those who would have been,
their sons, they gave their immortality.

Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for or dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour had come back, as a king, to earth,
and paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.

Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Posted by: tallerlacuba 20-Jan-2009, 02:08 PM
The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

Posted by: tallerlacuba 20-Jan-2009, 04:19 PM
A Dead Boche

To you who'd read my songs of War
And only hear of blood and fame,
I'll say (you've heard it said before)
"War's Hell!" and if you doubt the same,
Today I found in Mametz Wood
A certain cure for lust of blood:

Where, propped against a shattered trunk,
In a great mess of things unclean,
Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk
With clothes and face a sodden green,
Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired,
Dribbling black blood from nose and beard.

Robert Graves

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Jan-2009, 10:12 AM
A Letter From the Front

I was out early to-day, spying about
From the top of a haystack - such a lovely morning -
And when I mounted again to canter back
I saw across a field in the broad sunlight
A young Gunner Subaltern, stalking along
With a rook-rifle held at the ready, and - would you believe it? -
A domestic cat, soberly marching beside him.

So I laughed, and felt quite well disposed to the youngster,
And shouted out "the top of the morning" to him,
And wished him "Good sport!" - and then I remembered
My rank, and his, and what I ought to be doing:
And I rode nearer, and added, "I can only suppose
You have not seen the Commander-in-Chief's order
Forbidding English officers to annoy their Allies
By hunting and shooting."
But he stood and saluted
And said earnestly, "I beg your pardon, Sir,
I was only going out to shoot a sparrow
To feed my cat with."
So there was the whole picture,
The lovely early morning, the occasional shell
Screeching and scattering past us, the empty landscape, -
Empty, except for the young Gunner saluting,
And the cat, anxiously watching his every movement.

I may be wrong, or I may have told it badly,
But it struck me as being extremely ludicrous.

Henry Newbolt

Posted by: stoirmeil 22-Jan-2009, 12:12 PM
"the evil"

Whilst the red spittle of the grape-shot sings
all day across the endless sky, and whilst entire
battalions, green or scarlet, rallied by their kings,
disintegrate in crumpled masses under fire

Whilst an abominable madness seeks to pound
a hundred thousand men into a smoking mess -
pitiful dead in summer grass, on the rich ground
out of which Nature wrought these men in holiness;

He is a God who sees it all, and laughs aloud
at damask altar-cloths, incense and chalices,
Who falls asleep lulled by adoring liturgies

and wakens when some mother, in her anguish bowed
and weeping till her old black bonnet shakes with grief
offers him a a big sou wrapped in her handkerchief.

Arthur Rimbaud

(And the original French --

Le Mal

Tandis que les crachats rouges de la mitraille
Sifflent tout le jour par l'infini du ciel bleu;
Qu'écarlates ou verts, près du Roi qui les raille,
Croulent les bataillons en masse dans le feu;

Tandis qu'une folie épouvantable broie
Et fait de cent milliers d'hommes un tas fumant;
-Pauvres morts! dans l'été, dans l'herbe, dans ta joie,
Nature! ô toi qui fis ces hommes saintement!...

-Il est un Dieu, qui rit aux nappes damassées
Des autels, à l'encens, aux grands calices d'or;
Qui dans le bercement des hosannah s'endort,

Et se réveille, quand des mères, ramassées
Dans l'angoisse, et pleurant sous leur vieux bonnet noir,
Lui donnent un gros sou lié dans leur mouchoir!

Arthur Rimbaud )

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Jan-2009, 12:37 PM
I always find fascinating that even or specially in the most troubled times poetry can flourish and portrait the broken souls feelings.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Jan-2009, 12:38 PM
Anthem For Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in The hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine The holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen

Posted by: tallerlacuba 02-Feb-2009, 01:05 PM

There is a word you often see, pronounce it as you may -
'You bike,' 'you bikwe,' 'ubbikwe' - alludin' to R.A.
It serves 'Orse, Field, an' Garrison as motto for a crest,
An' when you've found out all it means I'll tell you 'alf the rest.

Ubique means the long-range Krupp be'ind the low-range 'ill -
Ubique means you'll pick it up an', while you do stand, still.
Ubique means you've caught the flash an' timed it by the sound.
Ubique means five gunners' 'ash before you've loosed a round.

Ubique means Blue Fuse1, an' make the 'ole to sink the trail. 1extreme range
Ubique means stand up an' take the Mauser's 'alf-mile 'ail.
Ubique means the crazy team not God nor man can 'old.
Ubique means that 'orse's scream which turns your innards cold.

Ubique means 'Bank, 'Olborn, Bank - a penny all the way -
The soothin' jingle-bump-an'-clank from day to peaceful day.
Ubique means 'They've caught De Wet, an' now we sha'n't be long.'
Ubique means 'I much regret, the beggar's going strong!'

Ubique means the tearin' drift where, breech-blocks jammed with mud,
The khaki muzzles duck an' lift across the khaki flood.
Ubique means the dancing plain that changes rocks to Boers.
Ubique means the mirage again an' shellin' all outdoors.

Ubique means 'Entrain at once for Grootdefeatfontein'!
Ubique means 'Off-load your guns' - at midnight in the rain!
Ubique means 'More mounted men. Return all guns to store.'
Ubique means the R.A.M.R. Infantillery Corps!

Ubique means the warnin' grunt the perished linesman knows,
When o'er 'is strung an' sufferin' front the shrapnel sprays 'is foes,
An' as their firin' dies away the 'usky whisper runs
From lips that 'aven't drunk all day: 'The Guns! Thank Gawd, the Guns!'

Extreme, depressed, point-blank or short, end-first or any'ow,
From Colesberg Kop to Quagga's Poort - from Ninety-Nine till now -

Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: tallerlacuba 04-Feb-2009, 12:15 PM

At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun
In the wild purple of the glow'ring sun,
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one,
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire.
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear,
Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire.
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear,
They leave their trenches, going over the top,
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists,
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop!

Siegfried Sassoon

Posted by: tallerlacuba 05-Feb-2009, 12:46 PM

We'd gained our first objective hours before
While dawn broke like a face with blinking eyes,
Pallid, unshaved and thirsty, blind with smoke.
Things seemed all right at first. We held their line,
With bombers posted, Lewis guns well placed,
And clink of shovels deepening the shallow trench.
The place was rotten with dead; green clumsy legs
High-booted, sprawled and grovelled along the saps
And trunks, face downward, in the sucking mud,
Wallowed like trodden sand-bags loosely filled;
And naked sodden buttocks, mats of hair,
Bulged, clotted heads slept in the plastering slime.
And then the rain began, - the jolly old rain!

A yawning soldier knelt against the bank,
Staring across the morning blear with fog;
He wondered when the Allemands would get busy;
And then, of course, they started with five-nines
Traversing, sure as fate, and never a dud.
Mute in the clamour of shells he watched them burst
Spouting dark earth and wire with gusts from hell,
While posturing giants dissolved in drifts of smoke.
He crouched and flinched, dizzy with galloping fear,
Sick for escape, - loathing the strangled horror
And butchered, frantic gestures of the dead.

An officer came blundering down the trench:
'Stand-to and man the fire-step!' On he went...
Gasping and bawling, 'Fire-step ... counter-attack!'
Then the haze lifted. Bombing on the right
Down the old sap: machine-guns on the left;
And stumbling figures looming out in front.
'O Christ, they're coming at us!' Bullets spat,
And he remembered his rifle ... rapid fire...
And started blazing wildly ... then a bang
Crumpled and spun him sideways, knocked him out
To grunt and wriggle: none heeded him; he choked
And fought the flapping veils of smothering gloom,
Lost in a blurred confusion of yells and groans...
Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned,
Bleeding to death. The counter-attack had failed.

Siegfried Sassoon

Posted by: tallerlacuba 06-Feb-2009, 09:56 AM

(Report from August 6, 1916. An officer previously reported
dead of wounds sustained in battle - Captain R. Graves,
Royal Welsh Fusiliers - is now reported as wounded.)

But I was dead, an hour or more.
I woke when I'd already passed the door
That Cerberus guards, and half-way down the road
To Lethe, as an old Greek signpost showed.
Above me, on my stretcher swinging by,
I saw new stars in the subterrene sky:
A Cross, a Rose in bloom, a Cage with bars,
And a barbed Arrow feathered in fine stars.
I felt the vapours of forgetfulness
Float in my nostrils. Oh, may Heaven bless
Dear Lady Proserpine, who saw me wake,
And, stooping over me, for Henna's sake
Cleared my poor buzzing head and sent me back
Breathless, with leaping heart along the track.
After me roared and clattered angry hosts
Of demons, heroes, and policeman-ghosts.
"Life! life! I can't be dead! I won't be dead!
Damned if I'll die for any one!" I said....

Cerberus stands and grins above me now,
Wearing three heads - lion, and lynx, and sow.
"Quick, a revolver! But my Webley's gone,
Stolen!... No bombs ... no knife.... The crowd swarms on,
Bellows, hurls stones.... Not even a honeyed sop...
Nothing.... Good Cerberus!... Good dog!... but stop!
Stay!... A great luminous thought ... I do believe
There's still some morphia that I bought on leave."
Then swiftly Cerberus' wide mouths I cram
With army biscuit smeared with ration jam;

And sleep lurks in the luscious plum and apple.
He crunches, swallows, stiffens, seems to grapple
With the all-powerful poppy... then a snore,
A crash; the beast blocks up the corridor
With monstrous hairy carcase, red and dun -
Too late! for I've sped through.
O Life! O Sun!

Robert Graves

Posted by: tallerlacuba 07-Feb-2009, 11:10 AM
Glory of Women

You love us when we're heroes, home on leave,
Or wounded in a mentionable place.
You worship decorations; you believe
That chivalry redeems the war's disgrace.
You make us shells. You listen with delight,
By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled.
You crown our distant ardours while we fight,
And mourn our laurelled memories when we're killed.
You can't believe that British troops 'retire'
When hell's last horror breaks them, and they run,
Trampling the terrible corpses-blind with blood.
O German mother dreaming by the fire,
While you are knitting socks to send your son
His face is trodden deeper in the mud.

Siegfried Sassoon

Posted by: tallerlacuba 09-Feb-2009, 09:59 AM

Not long did we lie on the torn, red field of pain.
We fell, we lay, we slumbered, we took rest,
With the wild nerves quiet at last, and the vexed brain
Cleared of the wingèd nightmares, and the breast
Freed of the heavy dreams of hearts afar.
We rose at last under the morning star.
We rose, and greeted our brothers, and welcomed our foes.
We rose; like the wheat when the wind is over, we rose.
With shouts we rose, with gasps and incredulous cries,
With bursts of singing, and silence, and awestruck eyes,
With broken laughter, half tears, we rose from the sod,
With welling tears and with glad lips, whispering, "God."
Like babes, refreshed from sleep, like children, we rose,
Brimming with deep content, from our dreamless repose.
And, "What do you call it?" asked one. "I thought I was dead."
"You are," cried another. "We're all of us dead and flat."
"I'm alive as a cricket. There's something wrong with your head."
They stretched their limbs and argued it out where they sat.
And over the wide field friend and foe
Spoke of small things, remembering not old woe
Of war and hunger, hatred and fierce words.
They sat and listened to the brooks and birds,
And watched the starlight perish in pale flame
Wondering what God would look like when He came.

Hermann Hagedorn

Posted by: tallerlacuba 10-Feb-2009, 11:58 AM
Anthem For Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in The hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine The holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

Wilfred Owen

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Feb-2009, 03:43 PM

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

Alan Seeger

Posted by: tallerlacuba 11-Feb-2009, 06:07 PM
Before Action

By all the glories of the day
And the cool evening's benison,
By that last sunset touch that lay
Upon the hills where day was done,
By beauty lavisghly outpoured
And blessings carelessly received,
By all the days that I have lived
Make me a solider, Lord.
By all of man's hopes and fears,
And all the wonders poets sing,
The laughter of unclouded years,
And every sad and lovely thing;
By the romantic ages stored
With high endeavor that was his,
By all his mad catastrophes
Make me a man, O Lord.
I, that on my familiar hill
Saw with uncomprehending eyes
A hundred of Thy sunsets spill
Their fresh and sanguine sacrifice,
Ere the sun swings his noonday sword
Must say goodbye to all of this;-
By all delights that I shall miss,
Help me to die, O Lord.

WN Hodgson

Posted by: tallerlacuba 12-Feb-2009, 11:58 AM


Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us...
Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent...
Low, drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient...
Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.

Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire,
Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
Northward, incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
What are we doing here?

The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow...
We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of gray,
But nothing happens.

Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
Less dealy than the air that shudders black with snow,
With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause, and renew,
We watch them wandering up and down the wind's nonchalance,
But nothing happens.


Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces -
We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow dazed,
deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,
Littered with blossoms trickling where the black-bird fusses.
Is it that we are dying?

Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires, glozed
With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;
Shutters and doors, all closed: on us the doors are closed,
We turn back to our dying.

Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
Nor ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
For God's invincible spring our love is made afraid;
Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
For love of God seems dying.

Tonight, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands, puckering foreheads crisp,
The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.

Wilfred Owen

Posted by: tallerlacuba 12-Feb-2009, 07:26 PM

In his malodorous brain what slugs and mire,
Lanthorned in his oblique eyes, guttering burned!
His body lodged a rat where men nursed souls.
The world flashed grape-green eyes of a foiled cat
To him. On fragments of an old shrunk power,
On shy and maimed, on women wrung awry,
He lay, a bullying hulk, to crush them more.
But when one, fearless, turned and clawed like bronze,
Cringing was easy to blunt these stern paws,
And he would weigh the heavier on those after.
Who rests in God's mean flattery now? Your wealth
Is but his cunning to make death more hard.
Your iron sinews take more pain in breaking.
And he has made the market for your beauty
Too poor to buy, although you die to sell.
Only that he has never heard of sleep;
And when the cats come out the rats are sly.
Here we are safe till he slinks in at dawn.
But he has gnawed a fibre from strange roots,
And in the morning some pale wonder ceases.
Things are not strange and strange things are forgetful.
Ah! if the day were arid, somehow lost
Out of us, but it is as hair of us,
And only in the hush no wind stirs it.
And in the light vague trouble lifts and breathes,

And restlessness still shadows the lost ways.
The fingers shut on voices that pass through,
Where blind farewells are taken easily...
Ah! this miasma of a rotting God!

Isaac Rosenberg

Posted by: tallerlacuba 13-Feb-2009, 02:34 PM
Gone, Gone Again

Gone, gone again,
May, June, July,
And August gone,
Again gone by,

Not memorable
Save that I saw them go,
As past the empty quays
The rivers flow.

And now again,
In the harvest rain,
The Blenheim oranges
Fall grubby from the trees

As when I was young
And when the lost one was here
And when the war began
To turn young men to dung.

Look at the old house,
Outmoded, dignified,
Dark and untenanted,
With grass growing instead

Of the footsteps of life,
The friendliness, the strife;
In its beds have lain
Youth. love, age, and pain:

I am something like that;
Only I am not dead,
Still breathing and interested
In the house that is not dark:-

I am something like that:
Not one pane to reflect the sun,
For the schoolboys to throw at -
They have broken every one.

Edward Thomas

Posted by: tallerlacuba 14-Feb-2009, 12:20 PM
Between The Lines

When consciousness came back, he found he lay
Between the opposing fires, but could not tell
On which hand were his friends; and either way
For him to turn was chancy -- bullet and shell
Whistling and shrieking over him, as the glare
Of searchlights scoured the darkness to blind day.
He scrambled to his hands and knees ascare,
Dragging his wounded foot through puddled clay,
And tumbled in a hole a shell had scooped
At random in a turnip-field between
The unseen trenches where the foes lay cooped
Through that unending battle of unseen
Dead-locked, league-stretching armies; and quite spent
He rolled upon his back within the pit,
And lay secure, thinkng of all it meant -
His lying in that little hole, sore hit,
But living, while across the starry sky
Shrapnel and shell went screeching overhead -
Of all it meant that he, Tom Dodd, should lie
Among the Belgian turnips, while his bed...
If it were he, indeed, who'd climbed each night,
Fagged with the day's work, up the narrow stair,
And slipt his clothes off in the candle-light,
Too tired to fold them neatly in a chair
The way his mother'd taught him - too dog-tired
After the long day's serving in the shop,
Inquiring what each customer required,
Politiely talking weather, fit to drop...

And now for fourteen days and nights, at least,
He hadn't had his clothes off, and had lain
In muddy trenches, napping like a beast
With one eye open, under sun and rain
And that unceasing hell-fire...

It was strange
How things turned out - the changes! You'd just got
To take your luck in life, you couln't change
Your luck.

And so here he was lying shot
Who just six months ago had thought to spend
His days behind a counter. Still, perhaps...
And now, God only knew how he would end!

He'd like to know haw many of the chaps
Had won back to the trench alive, when he
Had fallen wounded and been left for dead,
If any! ...

This was different, certainly,
From selling knots of tape and reels of thread
And knots of tape and reels of thread and knots
Of tape and reels of thread and knots of tape,
Day in, day out, and answering "Have you got" 's
And "Do you keep" 's till there seemed no escape
From everlasting serving in a shop,
Inquiring what each customer required,
Politely talking weather, fit to drop,
With swollen ankles, tired...

But he was tired
Now. Every bone was aching, and had ached
For fourteen days and nights in that wet trench -
Just duller when he slept than when he waked -
Crouching for shelter from the steady drench
Of shell and shrapnel...

That old trench, it seemed
Almost like home to him. He'd slept and fed
And sung and smoked in it, while shrapnel screamed
Harmless, at least, as far as he...

But Dick -
Dick hadn't found them harmless yesterday,
At breakfast, when he'd said he couldn't stick
Eating dry bread, and crawled out the back way,
And brought them butter in a lordly dish -
Butter enough for all, and held it high,
Yellow and fresh and clean as you would wish -
When plump upon the plate from out the sky
A shell fell bursting... Where the butter went,
God only knew!...

And Dick... He dared not think
Of what had come to Dick... or what it meant -
The shrieking and the whistling and the stink
He'd lived in fourteen days and nights. 'Twas luck
That he still lived . .. And queer how little then
He seemed to care that Dick... perhaps 'twas pluck
That hardened him -- a man among the men -
Perhaps... Yet, only think things out a bit,
And he was rabbit-livered, blue with funk!
And he'd liked Dick... and yet when Dick was hit,
He hadn't turned a hair. The meanest skunk
He should have thought would feel it when his mate
Was blown to smithereens -- Dick, proud as punch,
Grinning like sin, and holding up the plate -
But he had gone on munching his dry hunch,
Unwinking, will he swallowed the last crumb.
Perhaps 'twas just because he dared not let
His mind run upon Dick, who'd been his chum.
He dared not now, though he could not forget.

Dick took his luck. And, life or death, 'twas luck
From first to last; and you'd just got to trust
Your luck and grin. It wasn't so much pluck
As knowing that you'd got to, when needs must,
And better to die grinning...

Quiet now
Had fallen on the night. On either hand
The guns were quiet. Cool upon his brow
The quiet darkness brooded, as he scanned
The starry sky. He'd never seen before
So many stars. Although, of course, he'd known
That there were stars, somehow before the war
He'd never realised them -- so thick-sown,
Millions and millions. Serving in the shop,
Stars didn't count for much; and then at nights
Strolling the pavements, dull and fit to drop,
You didn't see much but the city lights.
He'd never in his life seen so much sky
As he'd seen this last fortnight. It was queer
The things war taught you. He'd a mind to try
To count the stars -- they shone so bright and clear.

One, two, three, four... Ah, God, but he was tired...
Five, six, seven, eight...

Yes, it was number eight.
And what was the next thing that she required?
(Too bad of customers to come so late,
At closing time!) Again within the shop
He handled knots of tape and reels of thread,
Politely talking weather, fit to drop...

When once again the whole sky overhead
Flared blind with searchlights, and the shriek of shell
And scream of shrapnel roused him. Drowsily
He stared about him, wondering. Then he fell
Into deep dreamless slumber.


He could see
Two dark eyes peeping at him, ere he knew
He was awake, and it again was day -
An August morning, burning to clear blue.
The frightened rabbit scuttled...

Far away,
A sound of firing... Up there, in the sky
Big dragon-flies hung hovering... Snowballs burst
About them... Flies and snowballs. With a cry
He crouched to watch the airmen pass -- the first
That he'd seen under fire. Lord, that was pluck -
Shells bursting all about them -- and what nerve!
They took their chance, and trusted to their luck
At such a dizzy height to dip and swerve,
Dodging the shell-fire...

Hell! but one was hit,
And tumbling like a pigeon, plump...

Thank Heaven,
It righted, and then turned; and after it
The whole flock followed safe -- four, five, six, seven,
Yes, they were all there safely. They deserved,
Even if they were Germans... 'Twas no sin
To wish them luck. Think how that beggar swerved
Just in the nick of time!

He, too, must try
To win back to the lines, though, likely as not,
He'd take the wrong turn: but he couldn't lie
Forever in that hungry hole and rot,
He'd got to take his luck, to take his chance
Of being sniped by foes or friends. He'd be
With any luck in Germany or France
Or Kingdom-come, next morning...

The blazing day burnt over him, shot and shell
Whistling and whining ceaselessly. But light
Faded at last, and as the darkness fell
He rose, and crawled away into the night.

Wilfred Wilson Gibson

Posted by: tallerlacuba 15-Feb-2009, 11:07 AM
For All We Have and Are

For all we have and are,
For all our children's fate,
Stand up and meet the war.
The Hun is at the gate!
Our world has passed away
In wantonness o'erthrown.
There is nothing left to-day
But steel and fire and stone.

Though all we knew depart,
The old commandments stand:
"In courage keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."

Once more we hear the word
That sickened earth of old:
"No law except the sword
Unsheathed and uncontrolled,"
Once more it knits mankind,
Once more the nations go
To meet and break and bind
A crazed and driven foe.

Comfort, content, delight -
The ages' slow-bought gain -
They shrivelled in a night,
Only ourselves remain
To face the naked days
In silent fortitude,
Through perils and dismays
Renewd and re-renewed.

Though all we made depart,
The old commandments stand:
"In patience keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."

No easy hopes or lies
Shall bring us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of body, will, and soul.
There is but one task for all -
For each one life to give.
Who stands if freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?

Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: tallerlacuba 16-Feb-2009, 04:17 PM
Champagne, 1914-15

In the glad revels, in the happy fetes,
When cheeks are flushed, and glasses gilt and pearled
With the sweet wine of France that concentrates
The sunshine and the beauty of the world,

Drink sometimes, you whose footsteps yet may tread
The undisturbed, delightful paths of Earth,
To those whose blood, in pious duty shed,
Hallows the soil where that same wine had birth.

Here, by devoted comrades laid away,
Along our lines they slumber where they fell,
Beside the crater at the Ferme d'Alger
And up the bloody slopes of La Pompelle,

And round the city whose cathedral towers
The enemies of Beauty dared profane,
And in the mat of multicolored flowers
That clothe the sunny chalk-fields of Champagne.

Under the little crosses where they rise
The soldier rests. Now round him undismayed
The cannon thunders, and at night he lies
At peace beneath the eternal fusillade...

That other generations might possess -
From shame and menace free in years to come -
A richer heritage of happiness,
He marched to that heroic martyrdom.

Esteeming less the forfeit that he paid
Than undishonored that his flag might float
Over the towers of liberty, he made
His breast the bulwark and his blood the moat.

Obscurely sacrificed, his nameless tomb,
Bare of the sculptor's art, the poet's lines,
Summer shall flush with poppy-fields in bloom,
And Autumn yellow with maturing vines.

There the grape-pickers at their harvesting
Shall lightly tread and load their wicker trays,
Blessing his memory as they toil and sing
In the slant sunshine of October days...

I love to think that if my blood should be
So privileged to sink where his has sunk,
I shall not pass from Earth entirely,
But when the banquet rings, when healths are drunk,

And faces that the joys of living fill
Glow radiant with laughter and good cheer,
In beaming cups some spark of me shall still
Brim toward the lips that once I held so dear.

So shall one coveting no higher plane
Than nature clothes in color and flesh and tone,
Even from the grave put upward to attain
The dreams youth cherished and missed and might have known;

And that strong need that strove unsatisfied
Toward earthly beauty in all forms it wore,
Not death itself shall utterly divide
From the belovèd shapes it thirsted for.

Alas, how many an adept for whose arms
Life held delicious offerings perished here,
How many in the prime of all that charms,
Crowned with all gifts that conquer and endear!

Honor them not so much with tears and flowers,
But you with whom the sweet fulfilment lies,
Where in the anguish of atrocious hours
Turned their last thoughts and closed their dying eyes,

Rather when music on bright gatherings lays
Its tender spell, and joy is uppermost,
Be mindful of the men they were, and raise
Your glasses to them in one silent toast.

Drink to them - - amorous of dear Earth as well,
They asked no tribute lovelier than this -
And in the wine that ripened where they fell,
Oh, frame your lips as though it were a kiss.

Alan Seeger

Posted by: tallerlacuba 17-Feb-2009, 09:04 AM
Greater Love

Red lips are not so red
As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
Kindness of wooed and wooer
Seems shame to their love pure.
O Love, your eyes lose lure
When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!

Your slender attitude
Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,
Rolling and rolling there
Where God seems not to care;
Till the fierce Love they bear
Cramps them in death's extreme decrepitude.

Your voice sings not so soft, -
Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft, -
Your dear voice is not dear,
Gentle, and evening clear,
As theirs whom none now hear
Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.

Heart, you were never hot,
Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;
And though your hand be pale,
Paler are all which trail
Your cross through flame and hail:
Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not.

Wilfred Owen

Posted by: tallerlacuba 17-Feb-2009, 05:24 PM
A Private

This ploughman dead in battle slept out of doors
Many's a frozen night, and merrily
Answered staid drinkers, good bedmen, and all bores:
'At Mrs Greenland's Hawthorn Bush,' said he,
'I slept.' None knew which bush. Above the town,
Beyond 'The Drover', a hundred spot the down
In Wiltshire. And where now at last he sleeps
More sound in France - that, too, he secret keeps.

Edward Thomas

Posted by: stoirmeil 17-Feb-2009, 06:31 PM
OK -- change wars, change themes for a bit.

This is a Spanish Civil War poem with a bit of analysis I did once on it. How many complex and conflicting emotions and motivations can keep a soldier in a flawed, doomed cause awake at night, wishing for the liberty simply to be his true self and live his music unperturbed:


Daring closely even this urban circle
Nightingales chant, the darkwood night
Is inlaid with ivory song, while
Towards the white air of tomorrow
Rises in slow spiral the sleep of thirty men.
All the floor’s a bed,
The straw, the smell, the kaleidoscopic cockroaches
Never ravel the curtain of their snores.
Lying here, your lovers and your haters
Are not the men, those men, you knew,
The nightingales throw music over the hour’s edge
In falls of ambling volume: they’ll outlive the town
To be for many thousand years the same
As on those thousands of midnights falling
Before Keats heard their enchanted summons.
We, within our short tomorrow,
Will have climbed into the violent ring of powder
Among guns’ stream of venom and saw-edged fighting moods,
There where there’s a new world’s door to knock on.
These men are proud,
Not all the world, though it knows a nightingale,
Knows us who hear above all songs
The steps of an old world going.

May 1937
Miles Tomalin

In: Poems from Spain: British and Irish International Brigaders on the Spanish Civil War, Jim Jump, ed.

Miles Tomalin was a virtuoso performer on the vertical Baroque flute, a music teacher, and a writer of books for young readers about the development of mechanical power. An avowed communist, he went to Spain in the spring of 1937, and as a member of the International Brigades he saw his heaviest combat in the calamitous Battle of Brunete in the summer of that year. As Valentine Cunningham noted in his essay “Saville’s Row with the Penguin Book of Spanish Civil War Verse,” Tomalin was one who, like Orwell, Auden, Spender and others, was disillusioned with the conduct of the war, and who in time became pessimistic about its prospects and its greater purpose. This ambivalence was often one of the strongest elements in his poetic expression. Those of Tomalin’s poems that focus on the validity of the war effort are permeated with a relativity of viewpoint more genuine than in other of his verses that attempt to make an undiluted statement in support of the cause.

This poem, “Alès,” dates from May of 1937. It predates by a few months his great lyric “After Brunete,” in which a weary, almost stunned dissociation from ideals is the prevalent mood. Here, in “Alès,” it seems that Tomalin’s poetic perspective has not yet been irrevocably disconnected from his conviction that the cause has a chance to prevail, or that the enormous effort and sacrifice to bring it off are justified. His sense of relativity, of the division of reality into numberless particulars that tends to undermine any idea of the universal, is captured in a comparison of nightingales and sleeping soldiers. At this moment, he perceives the nightingales and the soldiers as having been separated by prevailing conditions into different frames of time:

The nightingales throw music over the hour’s edge
In falls of ambling volume: they’ll outlive the town
To be for many thousand years the same
As on those thousands of midnights falling
Before Keats heard their enchanted summons.
We, within our short tomorrow,
Will have climbed into the violent ring of powder
Among guns’ stream of venom and saw-edged fighting moods,
There where there’s a new world’s door to knock on.

The nightingales persist as they always have, in a repetitive frame that takes no notice of either poets or soldiers and enjoys its own sort of unchanging, circular immortality; the poet recognizes that for them change is neither characteristic nor necessary. But there is an urgent paradigm, seen by the poet as radically new, that is imminently, even violently, approaching the men and that will carry them out of the repetitions of their history into a new frame of time and existence. The idealism of the communist Tomalin is at its clearest in the poem here.

But his ambivalence concerning his own place in the cause is present nonetheless. The images and sound-forms chosen for the expression of nightingales are soft and sensual:

Nightingales chant, the darkwood night
Is inlaid with ivory song . . .

The poet identifies the songbirds and the surrounding night with the musical instruments, “darkwood” and “inlaid with ivory,” that he loves and of which he is a master; the image is thus personalized with great tenderness, and marks a tension in himself between the musician who knows no other purpose for all time – nor needs to – and the idealist who must tear himself away from the repetitions of history to knock, harshly as may be, on “a new world’s door.” (In fact the Dolmetsch museum contains one of Tomalin’s Baroque flutes that he carried with him into Spain: the names of all his battles are carved into it.)

But the poet will not permit himself to be lulled. Even before violent acts of battle overtake the penultimate passage of the poem, the sleeping men are characterized, in images and sound-forms, neither by their political ideals, the nobility of their sacrifice nor the pity of their vulnerability, but rather in realistic physical terms more repellant than anything:

All the floor’s a bed,
The straw, the smell, the kaleidoscopic cockroaches
Never ravel the curtain of their snores.
The last pass of this slender lyric echoes again the quality of ambivalence or uncertainty that this poet, at his most uncompromisingly candid, lets through:
These men are proud,
Not all the world, though it knows a nightingale,
Knows us who hear above all songs
The steps of an old world going.

The idealistic assurance of the final line – the final turning away from the deceptively sweet, ultimately mindless sound of blind history’s repetitions – does not ring so much as sigh. It is the loneliness of the one soldier who lies awake in reflection among sleeping comrades, and out of mind of an unknowing world; and there is a fair measure of melancholy isolation underlining his ideals.

Posted by: celticlord 17-Feb-2009, 06:37 PM


They stole him from me to send him off to war,
and there he stayed to fight and die till it was done.
It’s bad when governments steal sons from you,
and he was by son.
They said this war had to be fought
And that it was for a just and noble cause.
So, since I was patriotic and voted for them,
I stood by their laws.
But it always seems to be the young who go
And against whom the scales of death are swung.
It's bad when governments send young men off to die,
And my son was young.

For what matters to them of a million deaths
When war is the tender of life they promote?
You can be sure when their reelection comes up,
They won’t get by vote!
For the enemy is now my chosen leader,
The enemy called peace that all governments abhor!
And you can be sure they won’t get any more of my sons,
Till they end all war.
Oh they may think they can get away with murder
and do any damn thing they feel must be done,
but they won’t take what I love away from me again,
And I loved by son

Posted by: tallerlacuba 23-Feb-2009, 08:48 AM
The Happy Warrior

His wild heart beats with painful sobs,
His strin'd hands clench an ice-cold rifle,
His aching jaws grip a hot parch'd tongue,
His wide eyes search unconsciously.

He cannot shriek.

Bloody saliva
Dribbles down his shapeless jacket.

I saw him stab
And stab again
A well-killed Boche.

This is the happy warrior,
This is he...

Herbert Read

Posted by: englishmix 28-Feb-2009, 11:27 PM
Here is a beautiful poem put to music by Smithfield Fair. Its about a Scottish wife bereft of husband and sons through warfare and government. Hope you enjoy it...


(Dudley-Brian Smith, ©1994, BMI)

All that is most dear has now been taken away

They laughed at all my tears,

And sent a braw lad to the grave.

My husband hung by Englishmen

His crime was he was poor.

Now their king demands my sons

With soldiers at my door

Who will till the earth? Who will cut the peat?

Who will build the dry-stane dykes?

Will it be the king?

Will the king mind my sheep that wander on the moor?

Now that he’s hung my husband dear

And marched my sons to war,

Will it be the king? Will it be the king?

For some dread, faceless king,

My sons were taken away;

And all that’s precious dies for naught

To fill some distant grave.

They stole a widow’s mite to fight a foreign war;

An empty croft (farm), a heart of woe

And silence on the moor.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 04-Jun-2010, 10:27 AM
Nobody wins a war

Posted by: tallerlacuba 04-Jun-2010, 11:04 AM
Another Day In Iraq

© By Anonymous

For Now

Be still.
There are no sounds.
Not anymore.
Not after the grizzly stench of bombings
that lay before the dinner table.
The sounds of trumpeting voices still
echo inside the gates of
every child's mind.

Noises abruptly halt the laughter
and smiles of the city.
Yet they've stopped.

For now.
No more thundering explosions
abuse the hearts of the innocent.

For now.
The children come back out.
In fear of the atomic packages that
fell from the stars.
The gift of 'democracy' tightly laced
in ammunition.

A mother's worried cries dress
the streets in a somber outfit of tears.
She searches for her lost young.
Her mind racing, her stomach
churning, burning with the
acids of dread and panic.

Her milk is drying, dissipating
from the absence of a tender child.
She breaks,
like a China doll that
fell from the careless hands
of a militant.

Her demeanor
represents the widespread
poverned nation
in which she lives.

The cluttered, stifled air
of a chemical soup.

She drops.
Falling upward
Towards the only
Peace she can find.

Scrambling like a cockroach
in the light.
She searches for a morsel
of humanity to feed
the lost.

The noises return,
along with the familiar smell
of burning metal.

Another day in Iraq.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 05-Jul-2011, 07:28 AM
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.

Dr. John McCrae (1872-1918)

Posted by: Showann 06-Jul-2011, 06:30 AM

Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone
Man has created death. 

Posted by: tallerlacuba 01-Dec-2011, 01:00 PM


Eyes full with fire,
hands full of weapons,
minds full of vicio,
parks full with death.

I want to fly,
to win this random game,
to leave this unconscious world,
because the sense is not the same one.

The hands that touched me,
the eyes that saw me,
people who loved me,
everything finished this day.

You remember the eyes full with love,
the hands full with caresses,
the minds with reason,
the parks in that you played.

Everything finished.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 03-Dec-2011, 08:49 AM

And the lady spring,
came near and greeted,
she told me, "I leave",
I am no longer anymore.

Because the sky is no longer blue,
the flowers and the plants are no longer,
the life leaves the water,
the life leaves.

A thousand needles have nailed me,
your planet faints,
not more siren cries,
not more dreams with chimeras,


The sky is no longer blue,
the flowers dying falls,
on the cold velvet,
of all the cities.


Posted by: tallerlacuba 07-Dec-2011, 11:11 AM

I spend the life,
looking trough,
the glass that catches me,
and takes me away from you.

This morning I was not able anymore,
to be caught without being able to fly,
the skies blue I intent to furrow,
my tied hands.

To break the glass that catches me?
that the wings of the freedom,
take me flying toward you,
with a sun that illuminates me the life.

I spend the life,
thrown in the floor,
and I don´t know,I don´t know,
if some day I will get up.

This morning I no longer could more,
I took the heart, a thousand stars,
and of that prison,
a door opened up.

The city...
Caught once again,
my soul smiled,
iron forest.

So strange.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 08-Dec-2011, 07:04 AM

Already two decades,
and anything happen,
this curtain doesn't still fall,
and it doesn't allow me to see.


The life passes so quickly,
and when the flower defoliates,
you look back,
there is no time.


The friends and the streets,
they are not the same of yesterday,
they are the clouds that had passed by,
and that change so quickly.

The life is so fast,
and when the flower defoliates,
a good-bye is said to the things,
it is said that everything finished.

Good-bye my purple forest.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 08-Dec-2011, 01:18 PM

In this city,
there is no longer clarity,
the soul is lost,
a failed illusion.

The history disappears,
just single shades of the city,
pass throug the door,
and that is all you will see.

The history disappears,
of people who leaves,
and in the soul it doesn't finish,
the love of the one who misses you.

Good-bye noone´s city,
good-bye strange city,
in you she dies,
and you just deceive.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 10-Dec-2011, 07:53 AM

Alone in a gray world,
in the thresholds of your love,
waiting for your signal,
a "go on" and to advance.

I want to escape from everything except from you,
and your looking so strange and subtle,
my needing indicates me to take the initiative,
and you take away each instant of my life.

Screaming on the soft ones,
spider's webs of my childhood,
I request the special password,
to be able to figure out your mystery.

To enter into your heart,
and break my dreams,
break all illusion,
create new moments.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 10-Jan-2012, 03:51 PM


I look to the sky and there is no longer anything,
accustomed to die I was,
and with a warm sun, a blue sky,
my thought, mon amour disintegrates.

I sustain myself of myself,
for not falling again in the abyss,
I have already been in the hell,
I know it and it is sometimes so tender.

I had maybe gotten acostumed,
to know that everything had finished,
and it is simple so the existence,
an organism unhinged apparently.

But I still continue here,
I look to the sky, there is nothing there,
It was the cold passages of my hell,
I don't know if now it is warm or I have the habit to live this way.

Posted by: Showann 14-Feb-2012, 07:16 AM
Once upon a time there was a good wolf
Who was attacked by the sheeps
And there was also a bad prince
A beautiful wish and a honest pirate

Posted by: Showann 16-Feb-2012, 08:08 AM
For all those voices which are quiet now
Many others sang rock and roll in a chorus
While thousands turned back when seeing the death wagon
The heros went toward it in a rhythmic step.

Posted by: Showann 17-Feb-2012, 06:27 AM
The hand of the death Came to that place
It was a terrible day
Both of them had many things to do
Their love was so big...
Suddenly the helicopter crashed down
On the cementery
Police said there were thousands of death people.

Posted by: Showann 18-Feb-2012, 06:59 AM
The guitar of the young soldier
Is very discret
Is so shy that she only sings
After ten o'clock

When they order silence
She waits for an hour
And in the mountain near a tree
She sings to the wind
Her love.

Posted by: Showann 19-Feb-2012, 07:56 PM
Down to the beach
Down to the beach
On a sunny day we go

Beach bags packed with sun screen lotions
Hands rubbing people's backs in slow motion
Glistening oily bodies radiating with sensation

Down to the beach
Down to the beach
Where a chilly sea breeze blows

Let's have some fun
In the red-hot sun

Down to the beach
Only there the ladies reveal saucy behinds
Whenever the raging sun is still kind

Down to the beach
As never-ceasing waves play across the shores
People happily play dreading any rainy downpour

Down to the beach
Where young lovers closely nestle
As sand creatures cause the sand to bristle
Seagulls gliding in the air with screams and whistles
Kids picking up shells and building stormy sand castles

Down to the beach
Where mostly good vibes flow
Down to the beach
We go whilst there is still sun without snow

Sylvia Chidi

Posted by: Showann 20-Feb-2012, 09:14 PM
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly the lines!- they hold a treasure
Divine- a talisman- an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure-
The words- the syllables! Do not forget
The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor
And yet there is in this no Gordian knot
Which one might not undo without a sabre,
If one could merely comprehend the plot.
Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering
Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus
Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing
Of poets, by poets- as the name is a poet's, too,
Its letters, although naturally lying
Like the knight Pinto- Mendez Ferdinando-
Still form a synonym for Truth- Cease trying!
You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.

Edgar Allan Poe

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Nov-2012, 09:06 AM
For you my heart walks
for you it would arrive so far
that I would go until the infinite
it would count each star for you
with their shines like mirror
for my beautiful Lady…

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Nov-2012, 10:12 AM
I dream of getting up to know you and having your heart near mine…
I am able to request you just the whisper of your lips to stay with life
since you are the only one able to make me feel I live
I never want to stop thinking of you….
because just thinking of it takes me to the extreme happiness
it is not a chance what I am requesting from you
but rather a question… do you Want to begin a history of love with me?

Posted by: tallerlacuba 22-Nov-2012, 11:25 AM
Just the love will save us,
To face our adversity,
I don't want to hurt you more,
I don't want you to go away
Together an eternity
Just the love will save us,
To ascend to the sky and never return
I want to hug you once again,
I want to fill you with happiness,
together an eternity.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 23-Nov-2012, 10:25 AM
I don't know if the decision of moving away from you was good
I don't know if I am making it wrong or well
I don't know really if what I make and I making demonstrates less or more
I just know that I no wasn't able for more
it felt strange
as in his beginnings makes it a hermit
it felt confused
among being by your side or to be lost
it seems that without realizing my decisions
I chose to be lost, and now I am alone under these conditions
your strong anger and your unbroken woman dignity
have left me without opportunity to respond
before the doubts that traveled for my mind
now for my own decision I feel a demented

Posted by: tallerlacuba 26-Nov-2012, 01:09 PM
Your love makes me feel the happiest man in the world,
and it moves me away from the whole dirty pain,
that it was in my very fertile one.
Your smile reminds me the butterflies
that flew in front of us, very beautiful;
you are the most beautiful of all the things
and for that reason this day I give you a thousand roses

Posted by: tallerlacuba 30-Nov-2012, 07:57 AM
I liked this one a lot.

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Posted by: tallerlacuba 17-Aug-2013, 01:31 PM
My greatest strength lies in striving every day,
in beating myself every night,
and kill my fears, kill my demons
just that way I can lead my people to the top,
just that way I can sleep peacefully at night,
as the most important battle is with myself.

Powered by Invision Power Board (
© Invision Power Services (