Poetry? Maybe it isnt all arty farty bull?

This will be what a recent breakup, a bottle of wine and a book from when you joined the military book club years ago, but just came across this from JK Chesterton of all people. Never knew he did war poetry but there you go:

Elegy in a Country Churchyard

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And birds and bees of England
About the cross can roam.

But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.

And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England
They have no graves as yet.

And of course the old Kipling classics:

If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

I have slain none except my Mother. She
(Blessing her slayer) died of grief for me.
Robert Louis Stevenson.

Not exactly a military hero, but a great author and poet.

He wrote these words on hearing of the death of a friend who had died whilst serving.

I know not how, but as I count
The former beads of years,
Old laughter catches in my throat,
With the very feel of tears.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
Pssied as fcuk and singing loud

the coppers came, I ran away
I will live to drink another day

I like Taffnp's one :)

As proof that the beancounters have always done their utmost to deny our Navy (and other defence forces) sufficient money to do the job, here are snips from a poem called HMS Foudroyant by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

Who says the Nation's purse is lean,
Who fears for claim or bond or debt,
When all the glories that have been
Are scheduled as a cash asset?
If times are bleak and trade is slack,
If coal and cotton fail at last,
We've something left to barter yet
Our glorious past.
Right - back to self indulgent misery making. This one never fails to get me, even in a good mood:

The Life That I Have

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Edited to add this:

The poem was written by Leo when he heard about the death of his fiancée in a plane crash in Canada. The full details are given in his very readable book "Between Silk and Cyanide".

He subsequently gave the poem to Violette to use on her second mission. She asked who had written it and he promised to find out and tell her when she returned. Violette never did return.
Note to self - stop drinking in this mood.
Siegfried Sassoon

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches,cowed and glum.
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain,
No one spoke of him again.

You smug faced crowds with kindling eye,
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Oh, thanks very much Idontbelieveit - like I was cheerful before :)
Some more Sassoon:

The Bishop tells us: 'When the boys come back
They will not be the same; for they'll have fought
In a just cause: they lead the last attack
On Anti-Christ; their comrades' blood has bought
New right to breed an honourable race,
They have challenged Death and dared him face to face.'

'We're none of us the same!' the boys reply.
'For George has lost both his legs; and Bill's stone blind'
Poor Jim's shot through through the lungs and like to die;
And Bert's gone syphiliticl; you'll not find
A chap who's served that hasn't found some change.'
And the Bishop said: 'The ways of God are strange.'

Am I really trading poems on Arrse at half midnight?!
Oh yes you are!!

I give you my boyfriend's genius!

Showers make you sheepish.
Baths make you bashful.
Use lots of shower gel, or you will smell..
Don't forget your rubber duck
...Or take your partner in, to fcuk.

Night night all xx

Edited for spelling :roll:
Hehehe. Best idea I've heard all week!

Boyfriend yours, wise is he
Much truth his words be.
For soap may make his body clean
but his c0ck very slippery....

And for some more non-poetry but still also very true (8 years a civvy):

A story: A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands, love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper; his hands remember the rifle.
ALL of Eliot's The Wasteland is gold but I'd have to quote the whole thing to demonstrate the landscape he creates.

Gotta try a bit of Byron (how can anyone not love a poem entitled "The Destruction of Sennacherib"?) just for the metre:

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.


If I've killed one man, I've killed two ----
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

(The problem is that quoting one verse just doesn't do her justice.)

And this one which in many ways says it all:


Remeber me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
Your friend to you.

He has but turned the corner -- still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
That self-same arduous way --
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
Attempted still.

He is not dead, this friend -- not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.

Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
Waits on a stile.

The Departed Friend, By R.L.Stevenson, who died only aged 44 himself (sniff)
I have always liked this one:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

(1) I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

(2) When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.

(3) I am the song that will never end.
I am the love of family and friend.
I am the child who has come to rest
In the arms of the Father who knows him best.

(4) When you see the sunset fair,
I am the scented evening air.
I am the joy of a task well done.
I am the glow of the setting sun.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)
When I Go

Place me not beneath mother earth’s soil,
Dig no more trenches for me,
Entomb me not behind some brass plate,
For time to tarnish and neglect.

I still feel the cold winds of the south,
That makes my body ache, yes even now.
So roast my bones quickly,
Let the flames purge my soul.

Scatter my ashes high upon a hill,
Like my fathers before me.
Let the wind take my earthly remnants,
As I return one last time,
To the land of my birth.

James Love
Biscuits_AB said:
On yonder hill..
there stood a coo..
it must have moved,
'cos it's no there noo.
thats the farmer's version of

On yonder hill
there stood a bucket,
it's no' there now
some feker took it


Ord_Sgt said:
Biscuits_AB said:
On yonder hill..
there stood a coo..
it must have moved,
'cos it's no there noo.
Thanks for that. We all love you for your feeling and considerate contribution. CNUT!!
As long as it's pished you off, that's a bonus in my books.
I posted this last year, in the "War Poetry..." thread on "Now That's what I Call ARRSE 1".
Apols, because I can't work out how to link directly to it. It's on Page 17, about half way down. Mind you, if you have the time, the whole thread is worth reading.
The poem still raises hairs......

"I first read the following poem about 10 years ago. It still raises the hair on the back of my neck each time I re-read it.

What are you guarding, Man-at-Arms?
Why do you watch and wait?
'I guard the graves,' said the Man-at-Arms,
'I guard the graves by Flanders farms
Where the dead will rise at my call to arms,
And march to the Menin gate'.

'When do they march then, Man-at-Arms?
Cold is the hour - and late'
'They march tonight' said the Man-at-Arms,
With the moon on the Menin gate.
They march when the midnight bids them go.
With their rifles slung and their pipes aglow,
Along the roads, the roads they know,
The roads to the Menin gate.

'What are they singing, Man-at-Arms,
As they march to the Menin gate?'
'The Marching songs', said the Man-at-Arms,
That let them laugh at fate.
No more will the night be cold for them,
For the last tattoo has rolled for them,
And their souls will sing as of old for them,
As they march to the Menin gate."

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