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The Great War

The war to end all wars.

3/26/17 02:00 am - duathir - Joseph Lee, 'The Half-hour's Furlough'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Half-hour's FurloughCollapse )

3/23/17 01:00 am - duathir - Alan Barker, 'Forgiveness'

Cross-post from war_poetry:


Forgive me all my tears, my mind is weary.
For those I loved, now gone into the night.
Freed of all their earthly fears. And dreary.
Whose passing marked the drawing down of light.
Forgive me my response, my heart is sore.
Youth’s needless sacrifice, to right a wrong.
And life? I loved it once, ‘til clouds of war.
When Spring meant warmth. And flowers.
And sweet birdsong.

By Alan Barker

3/20/17 01:00 am - duathir - Julian Grenfell, 'Into Battle'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Into Battle

The naked earth is warm with Spring
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's gaze glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze;
And Life is Colour and Warmth and Light,
And a striving evermore for these;
And he is dead who will not fight;
And who dies fighting has increase.
The fighting man shall from the sun
Take warmth, and life from the glowing earth;
Speed with the light-foot winds to run,
And with the trees to newer birth;
And find, when fighting shall be done,
Great rest, and fullness after dearth.

All the bright company of Heaven
Hold him in their high comradeship,
The Dog-Star and the Sisters Seven,
Orion's Belt and sworded hip.

The woodland trees that stand together,
They stand to him each one a friend,
They gently speak in the windy weather;
They guide to valley and ridges' end.

The kestrel hovering by day,
And the little owls that call by night,
Bid him be swift and keen as they,
As keen of ear, as swift of sight.

The blackbird sings to him 'Brother, brother,
'If this be the last song you shall sing
'Sing well, for you may not sing another;
Brother, sing'.

In dreary, doubtful, waiting hours,
Before the brazen frenzy starts,
The horses show him the nobler powers;
O patient eyes, courageous hearts!

And when the burning moment breaks,
And all things else are out of mind,
And only Joy of Battle takes
Him by the throat, and makes him blind.

Through joy and blindness he shall know,
Not caring much to know, that still
Nor lead nor steel shall reach him, so
That it be not the Destined Will.

The thundering line of battle stands,
And in the air Death moans and sings;
But Day shall clasp him with strong hands,
And Night shall fold him in soft wings.

by Julian Grenfell

3/17/17 01:00 am - duathir - Siegfried Sassoon, 'Blighters'

Cross-post from war_poetry:


The house is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin
And cackle at the Show, while prancing ranks
Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;
‘We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’

I’d like to see a Tank come down the stalls,
Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home, sweet Home’,
And there’d be no more jokes in Music-halls
To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.

By Siegfried Sassoon

Bapaume taken, March 17, 1917

3/16/17 01:00 am - duathir - Florence Kiper Frank, 'The Jewish Conscript'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Jewish Conscript

There are nearly a quarter of a million Jews in the Czar’s army alone.—Newspaper clipping.

They have dressed me up in a soldier’s dress,
With a rifle in my hand,
And have sent me bravely forth to shoot
My own in a foreign land.
Oh, many shall die for the fields of their homes,
And many in conquest wild;
But I shall die for the fatherland
That murdered my little child.
How many hundreds of years ago—
The nations wax and cease!—
Did the God of our fathers doom us to bear
The flaming message of peace!
We are the mock and the sport of time!
Yet why should I complain!—
For a Jew that they hung on the bloody cross,
He also died in vain.

By Florence Kiper Frank

3/15/17 01:00 am - duathir - Emmanuel Saul, 'For My Children'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

For My Children

When I left home to fight for Fatherland
Against the threat of danger and deceit
You, children, happily around me ran
Rejoicing in your father’s bravery,
His uniform and other warlike clothes,
And in his newfound worth and bravery.

All hid from child-like sight was what it means
When now your father leaves for war and death.
But later when you are mature and wise,
And when perhaps my bones far east may lie
Bleaching alone under a wooden cross –

Then dread and horror you may start to feel
And you will think about that far-off time
When we all said farewell for the last time.
The certainty will ease your private pain
That proud and joyful he did join the ranks
Who all fought for our Reich’s security.

And do you want to know why I went out,
Enthused and happy joining all the rest,
My life by sweetest wife and love still crowned,
While you in childhood’s blossom sweet and pure
Appeared before me in your beauteous youth?

I say to you, and listen carefully
I left you all because a German I,
No other way could I think, feel or act!
A German in each fibre of my heart.

Strong feelings as a student came to me
Of noble, precious German worth and good.
My childish heart rejoiced when I did hear
Of German victories and greatness told.

But when each sudden blow my nation struck,
It shattered me deep in my inmost soul;
It penetrated me so deep in marrow’s core
That it became my life’s experience.

So moved was I deep in my heart of hearts
Because of tragic destiny that struck
And tried to kill the noble dynasty
The kingly breed of Hohenstauffens proud,
So deeply moved was I that, yet a child,
Still tied to school desk and not yet mature
It held the grip of written fantasy.

Then came a war with German forces strongCollapse )

By Emmanuel Saul
Translated by Peter Appelbaum

Loyal Sons: German Jews In The German Army In The Great War

3/13/17 01:00 am - duathir - Richard Ball, 'In a Flanders' Garden'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

In a Flanders' Garden


Row upon row,
Uniform in dress white,
Guarding a parade ground
Below our tread.

They know nothing
Of the spring of the lawn,
The exuberance of the flowers.
And what can we understand
Of their experience?

Bombarded by the sights,
Sounds and stench of battle,
Others’ groans and screams
Defeated the generals’ plans,
Reinforced their terror.

Former comrades-in-arms,
Social beings,
Thinking and feeling,
Now decaying soldiers
Known unto God.

By Richard Ball

3/12/17 01:00 am - duathir - James Love, 'The British Empire'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The British Empire

Brave men died here today.
Did the swaying grass bring forth your tears?
Will this land which touched,
Nay claimed your soul.
Stay serene forever, and remain theirs now?
Or will man’s greed once more
Bring forth the havoc that is war.
To find our children
Or God forbid our children’s children.
So they too, will one day lay
Beneath that foreign soil
That we now call the Empire!

By James Love

3/11/17 01:00 am - duathir - John Bailey, 'The National Game'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The National Game

Neath dusty earth pitch and rusted goals
Long bleached under Mesopotamian sun
Lie several thousand heroic souls
Lost in ensuring our cause was won
So Maude’s 13th and colonial brothers
Rest amidst a nation still beset
Their own battles over, but not those of others
Eternal peace not quite found yet
Hussar, Poona, and Connaught
Bengali, Gurkha, and Fusiliers
Side by side they died as they fought
That way still after all these years
Yet arid Shamals blow no poppies here
Graves overgrown, even broken some lay
No singing larks and no hills familiar
Even Blomfield’s bronze now ripped away
Yet not forgotten these glorious men
Now resting where few heads are bowed
Families recall now as they did then
And all soldiers know the debt that is owed

By John Bailey

Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery

Lt.-General Frederick Stanley Maude captured Baghdad, March 11, 1917:
"Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators."

3/9/17 01:00 am - duathir - Sara Teasdale, 'Spring In War Time'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Spring in War Time

I feel the Spring far off, far off,
The faint far scent of bud and leaf--
Oh how can Spring take heart to come
To a world in grief,
Deep grief?

The sun turns north, the days grow long,
Later the evening star grows bright--
How can the daylight linger on
For men to fight,
Still fight?

The grass is waking in the ground,
Soon it will rise and blow in waves--
How can it have the heart to sway
Over the graves,
New graves?

Under the boughs where lovers walked
The apple-blooms will shed their breath--
But what of all the lovers now
Parted by death,
Gray Death?

by Sara Teasdale
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