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POETRY of WORLD WAR 1.: More Poems

"The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there's some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever 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.

Rain by Edward Thomas

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain

On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me

Remembering again that I shall die

And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks

For washing me cleaner than I have been

Since I was born into solitude.

Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:

But here I pray that none whom once I loved

Is dying tonight or lying still awake

Solitary, listening to the rain,

Either in pain or thus in sympathy

Helpless among the living and the dead,

Like a cold water among broken reeds,

Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,

Like me who have no love which this wild rain

Has not dissolved except the love of death,

If love it be towards what is perfect and

Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

"Reveille" by A.E. Houseman

Wake: the silver dusk returning

Up the beach of darkness brims,

And the ship of sunrise burning

Strands upon the eastern rims.

Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,

Trampled to the floor it spanned,

And the tent of night in tatters

Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying:

Hear the drums of morning play;

Hark, the empty highways crying

"Who'll beyond the hills away?"

Towns and countries woo together,

Forelands beacon, belfries call;

Never lad that trod on leather

Lived to feast his heart with all.

Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber

Sunlit pallets never thrive;

Morns abed and daylight slumber

Were not meant for man alive.

Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;

Breath's a ware that will not keep.

Up, lad: when the journey's over

There'll be time enough to sleep.

The Happy Warrior by Herbert Reed [1893-1968]

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...

"Back" by Wilfred Gibson [1878-1962]

They ask me where I've been,
And what I've done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn't I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands...
Though I must bear the blame,
Because he bore my name.

"Before Action" by W.N. Hodgson [1893-1916]

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.

"MCMXIV" by Philip Larkin [1922-1985]

Those long uneven lines
Standing as patiently
As if they were stretched outside
The Oval or Villa Park,
The crowns of hats, the sun
On moustached archaic faces
Grinning as if it were all
An August Bank Holiday lark;

And the shut shops, the bleached
Established names on the sunblinds,
The farthings and sovereigns,
And dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
Wide open all day;

And the countryside not caring
The place-names all hazed over
With flowering grasses, and fields
Shadowing Domesday lines
Under wheats' restless silence;
The differently-dressed servants
With tiny rooms in huge houses,
The dust behind limousines;

Never such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word--the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.