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The Great War

The war to end all wars.

5/8/17 01:00 am - duathir - Ernest Hemingway, 'All Armies Are The Same'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

All Armies Are The Same

All armies are the same
Publicity is fame
Artillery makes the same old noise
Valor is an attribute of boys
Old soldiers all have tired eyes
All soldiers hear the same old lies
Dead bodies always have drawn flies

by Ernest Hemingway
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5/7/17 02:00 am - duathir - Edgar Albert Guest, 'War's Homecoming'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

War's Homecoming

We little thought how much they meant- the bleeding hearts of France,
And British mothers wearing black to mark some troop's advance,
The war was, O, so distant then, the grief so far away,
We couldn't see the weeping eyes, nor hear the women pray.
We couldn't sense the weight of woe that rested on that land,
But now our boy is called to go- to-day, we understand.

There, some have heard the blackest news that o'er the wires has sped,
And some are living day by day beneath the clouds of dread;
Some fear the worst; some know the worst, but every heart is chilled,
And every soul is sorrow touched and laughter there is stilled.
There, old folks sit alone and grieve and pray for peace to come,
And now our little boy has heard the summons of the drum.

Their grief was such a distant thing, we made it fruit for speech.
We never thought in days of old such pain our hearts would reach.
We talked of it, as people do of sorrow far aloof,
Nor dreamed such care would ever dwell beneath our happy roof.
But England's woes are ours to-day, we share the sighs of France;
Our little boy is on the sea with Death to take his chance.

By Edgar Albert Guest
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5/6/17 01:00 am - duathir - Robert Graves, 'A Dead Boche'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

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.

by Robert Graves
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5/5/17 01:00 am - duathir - T.A. Girling, 'Blighted'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Blighted

A day in May,
Bright sunshine everywhere
And all the sweetness of returning spring,
Horses upon the hillside grazing near,
The tents of happy men who laugh and sing
For very joy of life and Nature's wakening,
Dear flowers in woods and fields and birds above
Carolling happy songs of spring and love,
Then suddenly a whistling, hurtling through the air,
A crash, death and destruction, pain and fear.

A moonlight night,
Sweet, fiery stars o'erhead,
Grey, hazy shadows over wood and vale,
The still, soft air a balmy peace has shed
O'er lines of drowsy horses and tents, like pale
Grey peaks where rest and sleep prevail,
So all the night breathes out in passion deep
The tender care of Nature while they sleep,
Then suddenly a hurrying whirring in the sky,
A bomb shrieks down, a terrifying burst, and peace must die.

A buoyant soul,
Warm, cherished by the spring,
To love for all creation in the glow
Of rapture that all Nature's beauties bring,
And hold a part in that from which they flow,
Spring air above, responding earth below ;
So holy seems the season in the heart.
No thought but love and joy can find a part
Until on man and beast barbaric wounds and death
Stifle with sudden blast the spring's inspiring breath.

by T.A. Girling
5th May, 1917

5/4/17 02:00 am - duathir - Edgar Albert Guest, 'The Joy To Be'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Joy To Be

Oh, mother, be you brave of heart and keep your bright eyes shining;
Some day the smiles of joy shall start and you shall cease repining.
Beyond the dim and distant line the days of peace are waiting,
When you shall have your soldier fine, and men shall turn from hating.

Oh, mother, bear the pain a-while, as long ago you bore it;
You suffered then to win his smile, and you were happier for it;
And now you suffer once again, and bear your weight of sorrow;
Yet you shall thrill with gladness when he wins the glad to-morrow.

Oh, mother, when the cannons roar and all the brave are fighting,
Remember that the son you bore the wrongs of earth is righting;
Remember through the hours of pain that he with all his brothers
Is battling there to win again a happy world for mothers.

By Edgar Albert Guest
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5/3/17 01:00 am - duathir - Margaret Postgate Cole, 'The Veteran'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

The Veteran

We came upon him sitting in the sun
Blinded by war, and left. And past the fence
There came young soldiers from the Hand and Flower,
Asking advice of his experience.
And he said this, and that, and told them tales,
And all the nightmares of each empty head
Blew into air; then, hearing us beside,
"Poor chaps, how'd they know what it's like?" he said.
And we stood there, and watched him as he sat,
Turning his sockets where they went away,
Until it came to one of us to ask "And you're - how old?"
"Nineteen, the third of May."

by Margaret Postgate Cole
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5/2/17 01:00 am - duathir - Wilfred Owen, 'Spring Offensive'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Spring Offensive

Halted against the shade of a last hill,
They fed, and, lying easy, were at ease
And, finding comfortable chests and knees
Carelessly slept. But many there stood still
To face the stark, blank sky beyond the ridge,
Knowing their feet had come to the end of the world.

Marvelling they stood, and watched the long grass swirled
By the May breeze, murmurous with wasp and midge,
For though the summer oozed into their veins
Like the injected drug for their bones' pains,
Sharp on their souls hung the imminent line of grass,
Fearfully flashed the sky's mysterious glass.

Hour after hour they ponder the warm field -
And the far valley behind, where the buttercups
Had blessed with gold their slow boots coming up,
Where even the little brambles would not yield,
But clutched and clung to them like sorrowing hands;
They breathe like trees unstirred.

Till like a cold gust thrilled the little word
At which each body and its soul begird
And tighten them for battle. No alarms
Of bugles, no high flags, no clamorous haste -
Only a lift and flare of eyes that faced
The sun, like a friend with whom their love is done.
O larger shone that smile against the sun, -
Mightier than his whose bounty these have spurned.

So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together
Over an open stretch of herb and heather
Exposed. And instantly the whole sky burned
With fury against them; and soft sudden cups
Opened in thousands for their blood; and the green slopes
Chasmed and steepened sheer to infinite space.

Of them who running on that last high place
Leapt to swift unseen bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell's upsurge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.

But what say such as from existence' brink
Ventured but drave too swift to sink.
The few who rushed in the body to enter hell,
And there out-fiending all its fiends and flames
With superhuman inhumanities,
Long-famous glories, immemorial shames -
And crawling slowly back, have by degrees
Regained cool peaceful air in wonder -
Why speak they not of comrades that went under?

by Wilfred Owen
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5/1/17 02:00 am - duathir - John William Streets, 'Matthew Copse'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Matthew Copse

Once in thy secret close, now almost bare,
Peace yielded up her bountiful largess;
The dawn dropp'd sunshine thro' thy leafy dress;
The sunset bathed thy glade with beauty rare.

Spring once wove here her tapestry of flowers,
The primrose sweet, the errant celandine;
The blue-bell and the wild rose that doth twine
Its beauty 'round the laughing summer hours.

Here lovers stole unseen at deep'ning eve,
High-tide within their hearts, love in their eyes,
And told a tale whose magic never dies
That only they who love can quite believe.

Now 'mid thy splinter'd trees the great shells crash,
The subterranean mines thy deeps divide;
And men from Death and Terror there do hide -
Hide in thy caves from shrapnel's deadly splash.

Yet 'mid thy ruins, shrine now desolate,
The Spring breaks thro' and visions many a spot
With promise of the wild-rose - tho' belate -
And the eternal blue forget-me-not.

So Nature flourishes amid decay,
Defiant of the fate that laid her low;
So Man in triumph scorning Death below
Visions the springtide of a purer day:

Dreams of the day when rampant there will rise
The flowers of Truth and Freedom from the blood
Of noble youth who died: when there will bud
The flower of Love from human sacrifice.

There by the fallen youth, where heroes lie,
Close by each simple cross the flowers will spring,
The bonnes enfants will wander in Spring,
And lovers dream those dreams that never die.

by Sgt. John William Streets

John William Streets, killed and missing in action July 1, 1916 - declared dead May 1, 1917

5/1/17 01:00 am - duathir - Patrick MacGill, 'Death and the Fairies'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Death and the Fairies

Before I joined the Army
I lived in Donegal,
Where every night the Fairies
Would hold their carnival.

But now I'm out in Flanders,
Where men like wheat-ears fall,
And it's Death and not the Fairies
Who is holding carnival.

By Patrick MacGill
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4/30/17 02:00 am - duathir - Edgar Albert Guest, 'Good Luck'

Cross-post from war_poetry:

Good Luck

Good luck! That's all I'm saying, as you sail across the sea;
The best o' luck, in the parting, is the prayer you get from me.
May you never meet a danger that you won't come safely through,
May you never meet a German that can get the best of you;
Oh! A thousand things may happen when a fellow's at the front,
A thousand different mishaps, but here's hoping that they won't.

Good luck! That's all I'm saying, as you turn away to go,
Good luck and plenty of it, may it be your lot to know;
May you never meet rough weather, but remember if you do
That the folks at home are wishing that you'll all come safely through.
Oh! A thousand things may happen when a fellow bears the brunt
Of His Country's fight for glory, but I'm praying that they won't.

Good luck! That's all I'm saying as you're falling into line;
May the splendour of your service bring you everything that's fine;
May the fates deal kindly with you, may you never know distress,
And may every task you tackle end triumphant with success.
Oh! A thousand things may happen that with joy your life will fill;
You may not get all the gladness, but I'm hoping that you will.

By Edgar Albert Guest
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