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The Great War

The war to end all wars.

11/23/17 01:00 am - duathir - Ewart Alan Mackintosh, 'Cha Till Maccruimein'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Cha Till Maccruimein
Departure of the 4th Camerons

The pipes in the streets were playing bravely,
The marching lads went by
With merry hearts and voices singing
My friends marched out to die;
But I was hearing a lonely pibroch
Out of an older war,
"Farewell, farewell, farewell, MacCrimmon,
MacCrimmon comes no more."

And every lad in his heart was dreaming
Of honour and wealth to come,
And honour and noble pride were calling
To the tune of the pipes and drum;
But I was hearing a woman singing
On dark Dunvegan shore,
"In battle or peace, with wealth or honour,
MacCrimmon comes no more."

And there in front of the men were marching
With feet that made no mark,
The grey old ghosts of the ancient fighters
Come back again from the dark;
And in front of them all MacCrimmon piping
A weary tune and sore,
"On gathering day, for ever and ever,
MacCrimmon comes no more."

By Ewart Alan Mackintosh

Lt. Ewart Alan Mackintosh, killed November 23, 1917 at the Second Battle of Cambrai


11/21/17 01:00 am - duathir - Siegfried Sassoon, 'Glory of Women'

Cross-post from war_poetry

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.

by Siegfried Sassoon

11/20/17 01:00 am - duathir - Laurence Binyon, 'An Incident At Cambrai'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

An Incident At Cambrai

In a by-street, blocked with rubble
And any-way-tumbled stones,
Between the upstanding house-fronts'
Naked and scorched bones,

Chinese workmen were clearing
The ruins, dusty and arid.
Dust whitened the motley coats,
Where each his burden carried.

Silent they glided, all
Save one, who passed me by
With berry-brown high-boned cheeks
And strange Eastern eye.

And he sang in his outland tongue
Among those ruins drear
A high, sad, half-choked ditty
That no one heeded to hear.

Was it love, was it grief, that made
For long-dead lips that song?
The desolation of Han
Or the Never-Ending Wrong?

The Rising Sun and the Setting,
They have seen this all as a scroll
Blood-smeared, that the endless years
For the fame of men unroll.

It was come from the ends of the earth
And of Time in his ruin gray,
That song,-the one human sound
In the silence of Cambrai.

By Laurence Binyon

The Battle of Cambrai, Nov. 20-Dec. 7, 1917

11/19/17 01:00 am - duathir - Keith Douglas, 'Aristocrats: "I Think I Am Becoming A God"'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Aristocrats: "I Think I Am Becoming A God"

The noble horse with courage in his eye,
clean in the bone, looks up at a shellburst:
away fly the images of the shires
but he puts the pipe back in his mouth.
Peter was unfortunately killed by an 88;
it took his leg away, he died in the ambulance.
I saw him crawling on the sand, he said
It's most unfair, they've shot my foot off.

How can I live among this gentle
obsolescent breed of heroes, and not weep?
Unicorns, almost,
for they are fading into two legends
in which their stupidity and chivalry
are celebrated.
Each, fool and hero, will be an immortal.
These plains were their cricket pitch
and in the mountains the tremendous drop fences
brought down some of the runners. Here then
under the stones and earth they dispose themselves,
I think with their famous unconcern.
It is not gunfire I hear, but a hunting horn.

by Keith Douglas

11/18/17 01:00 am - duathir - James Norman Hall, 'The Cricketers of Flanders'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Cricketers of Flanders

The first to climb the parapet
With “cricket balls” in either hand;
The first to vanish in the smoke
Of God-forsaken No Man’s Land;
First at the wire and soonest through,
First at those red-mouthed hounds of hell,
The Maxims, and the first to fall,—
They do their bit and do it well.

Full sixty yards I’ve seen them throw
With all that nicety of aim
They learned on British cricket-fields,
Ah, bombing is a Briton’s game!
Shell-hole to shell-hole, trench to trench,
“Lobbing them over” with an eye
As true as though it were a game
And friends were having tea close by.

Pull down some art-offending thing
Of carven stone, and in its stead
Let splendid bronze commemorate
These men, the living and the dead.
No figure of heroic size,
Towering skyward like a god;
But just a lad who might have stepped
From any British bombing squad.

His shrapnel helmet set atilt,
His bombing waistcoat sagging low,
His rifle slung across his back:
Poised in the very act to throw.
And let some graven legend tell
Of those weird battles in the West
Wherein he put old skill to use,
And played old games with sterner zest.

Thus should he stand, reminding those
In less-believing days, perchance,
How Britain’s fighting cricketers
Helped bomb the Germans out of France.
And other eyes than ours would see;
And other hearts than ours would thrill;
And others say, as we have said:
“A sportsman and a soldier still!”

By James Norman Hall

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11/16/17 01:00 am - duathir - Siegfried Sassoon, 'The Tombstone-Maker'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Tombstone-Maker

He primmed his loose red mouth and leaned his head
Against a sorrowing angel’s breast, and said:
‘You’d think so much bereavement would have made
‘Unusual big demands upon my trade.
‘The War comes cruel hard on some poor folk;
‘Unless the fighting stops I’ll soon be broke.’

He eyed the Cemetery across the road.
‘There’s scores of bodies out abroad, this while,
‘That should be here by rights. They little know’d
‘How they’d get buried in such wretched style.’

I told him with a sympathetic grin,
That Germans boil dead soldiers down for fat;
And he was horrified. ‘What shameful sin!
‘O sir, that Christian souls should come to that!’

By Siegfried Sassoon

11/14/17 01:00 am - duathir - Arthur Graeme West, 'God! How I Hate You!'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

God! How I Hate You!

God! How I hate you, you young cheerful men,
Whose pious poetry blossoms on your graves
As soon as you are in them, nurtured up
By the salt of your corruption, and the tears
Of mothers, local vicars, college deans,
And flanked by prefaces and photographs
From all your minor poet friends — the fools —
Who paint their sentimental elegies
Where sure, no angel treads; and, living, share
The dead’s brief immortality

Oh Christ!
To think that one could spread the ductile wax
Of his fluid youth to Oxford’s glowing fires
And take her seal so ill! Hark how one chants —
“Oh happy to have lived these epic days” —
“These epic days”! And he’d been to France,
And seen the trenches, glimpsed the huddled dead
In the periscope, hung in the rusting wire:
Choked by their sickly fœtor, day and night
Blown down his throat: stumbled through ruined hearths,
Proved all that muddy brown monotony,
Where blood’s the only coloured thing. Perhaps
Had seen a man killed, a sentry shot at night,
Hunched as he fell, his feet on the firing-step,
His neck against the back slope of the trench,
And the rest doubled up between, his head
Smashed like an egg-shell, and the warm grey brain
Spattered all bloody on the parados:
Had flashed a torch on his face, and known his friend,
Shot, breathing hardly, in ten minutes — gone!
Yet still God’s in His heaven, all is right
In the best possible of worlds. The woe,
Even His scaled eyes must see, is partial, only
A seeming woe, we cannot understand.
God loves us, God looks down on this our strife
And smiles in pity, blows a pipe at times
And calls some warriors home. We do not die,
God would not let us, He is too “intense,”
Too “passionate,” a whole day sorrows He
Because a grass-blade dies. How rare life is!
On earth, the love and fellowship of men,
Men sternly banded: banded for what end?
Banded to maim and kill their fellow men —
For even Huns are men. In heaven above
A genial umpire, a good judge of sport,
Won’t let us hurt each other! Let’s rejoice
God keeps us faithful, pens us still in fold.
Ah, what a faith is ours (almost, it seems,
Large as a mustard-seed) — we trust and trust,
Nothing can shake us! Ah, how good God is
To suffer us to be born just now, when youth
That else would rust, can slake his blade in gore,
Where very God Himself does seem to walk
The bloody fields of Flanders He so loves!

by Arthur Graeme West

11/12/17 01:00 am - duathir - Winifred M. Letts, 'The Spires of Oxford'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Spires of Oxford

I saw the spires of Oxford
As I was passing by,
The gray spires of Oxford
Against the pearl-gray sky.
My heart was with the Oxford men
Who went abroad to die.

The years go fast in Oxford,
The golden years and gay,
The hoary Colleges look down
On careless boys at play.
But when the bugles sounded war
They put their games away.

They left the peaceful river,
The cricket-field, the quad,
The shaven lawns of Oxford,
To seek a bloody sod—
They gave their merry youth away
For country and for God.

God rest you, happy gentlemen,
Who laid your good lives down,
Who took the khaki and the gun
Instead of cap and gown.
God bring you to a fairer place
Than even Oxford town.

By Winifred M. Letts

11/11/17 10:58 am - baron_waste - “Armistice Day Silence”

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11/11/17 09:57 am - baron_waste - “The End”

Oh What a Lovely War - End Sequence

“Follow the Tape”Collapse )

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