War Poetry....

#1
No, not that limp wristed teenage angst platoon riddled with poovery crap, or that rather suspicious letter that Hillaire Belloc wrote to my Grandfather.

I mean the meaty stuff written by "Yer man" Kipling

Boots
(Infantry Columns)
WE' RE foot-slog-slog-slog-sloggin' over Africa
Foot-foot-foot-foot-sloggin' over Africa
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up and down again!)
There's no discharge in the war !

Seven-six-eleven-five-nine-an'-twenty mile to-day-
Four-eleven-seventeen-thirty-two the day before
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up and down again !)
There's no discharge in the war !

Don't-don't-don't-don't-look at what's in front of you.
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again);
Men-men-men-men-men go mad with watchin' 'em,
An' there's no discharge in the war !

Count-count-count-count-the bullets in the bandoliers.
If-your-eyes-drop-they will get atop o' you !
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up and down again)
There's no discharge in the war !

Try-try-try-try-to think o' something different-
Oh-my-God-keep-me from goin' lunatic !
(Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again !)
There's no discharge in the war !

We-can-stick-out-'unger, thirst, an' weariness,
But-not-not-not-not the chronic sight of 'em-
Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war !

'Tain`t-so-bad-by-day because o' company,
But night-brings-long-strings-o' forty thousand million
Boots-boots-boots-boots-movin' up an' down again
There's no discharge in the war !

I-'ave-marched-six-weeks in 'Ell an' certify
It-is-not-fire-devils, dark, or anything,
But boots-boots-boots-boots-movin'up an' down again,
An' there's no discharge in the war !

Blimmin Excellent. Anyone else got a favourite?
 
#2
But it might be a bit too relevant  :-[

The Young British Soldier

WHEN the 'arf-made recruity goes out to the East
'E acts like a babe an' 'e drinks like a beast,
An' 'e wonders because 'e is frequent deceased
Ere 'e's fit for to serve as a soldier.
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
Serve, serve, serve as a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

Now all you recruities what's drafted to-day,
You shut up your rag-box an' 'ark to my lay,
An' I'll sing you a soldier as far as I may:
A soldier what's fit for a soldier.
Fit, fit, fit for a soldier . . .

First mind you steer clear o' the grog-sellers' huts,
For they sell you Fixed Bay'nets that rots out your guts -
Ay, drink that 'ud eat the live steel from your butts -
An' it's bad for the young British soldier.
Bad, bad, bad for the soldier . . .

When the cholera comes - as it will past a doubt -
Keep out of the wet and don't go on the shout,
For the sickness gets in as the liquor dies out,
An' it crumples the young British soldier.
Crum-, crum-, crumples the soldier . . .

But the worst o' your foes is the sun over'ead:
You must wear your 'elmet for all that is said:
If 'e finds you uncovered 'e'll knock you down dead,
An' you'll die like a fool of a soldier.
Fool, fool, fool of a soldier . . .

If you're cast for fatigue by a sergeant unkind,
Don't grouse like a woman nor crack on nor blind;
Be handy and civil, and then you will find
That it's beer for the young British soldier.
Beer, beer, beer for the soldier . . .

Now, if you must marry, take care she is old -
A troop-sergeant's widow's the nicest I'm told,
For beauty won't help if your rations is cold,
Nor love ain't enough for a soldier.
'Nough, 'nough, 'nough for a soldier . . .

If the wife should go wrong with a comrade, be loath
To shoot when you catch 'em - you'll swing, on my oath! -
Make 'im take 'er and keep 'er: that's Hell for them both,
An' you're shut o' the curse of a soldier.
Curse, curse, curse of a soldier . . .

When first under fire an' you're wishful to duck,
Don't look nor take 'eed at the man that is struck,
Be thankful you're livin', and trust to your luck
And march to your front like a soldier.
Front, front, front like a soldier . . .

When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are - you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .

When shakin' their bustles like ladies so fine,
The guns o' the enemy wheel into line,
Shoot low at the limbers an' don't mind the shine,
For noise never startles the soldier.
Start-, start-, startles the soldier . . .

If your officer's dead and the sergeants look white,
Remember it's ruin to run from a fight:
So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier.
Wait, wait, wait like a soldier . . .

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!
 
#3
War Song of the Saracens

We are they who come faster than fate: we are they who ride early or late:
We storm at your ivory gate: Pale Kings of the Sunset, beware!
Not on silk nor in samet we lie, not in curtained solemnity die
Among women who chatter and cry, and children who mumble a prayer.
But we sleep by the ropes of the camp, and we rise with a shout, and we tramp
With the sun or moon for a lamp, and the spray of the wind in our hair.


From the land where the elephants are, to the forts of Merou and Balghar,
Our steel we have brought and our star to shine on the ruins of Rum.
We have marched from the Indus to Spain, and by God we will go there again;
We have stood on the shore of the plain where the Waters of Destiny boom.
A mart of destruction we made a Jalula where men were afraid,
For death was a difficult trade, and the sword was a broker of doom;


And the Spear was a Desert Physician who cured not a few of ambition,
And drove not a few to perdition with medicine bitter and strong:
And the shield was a grief to the fool and as bright as a desolute pool,
And as straight as a rock of Stamboul when their cavalry thundered along:
For the coward was drowned with the brave when our battle, sheered up like a wave,
And the dead to the desert we gave, and the glory to God in our song.


JAMES ELROY FLECKER
 
F

flash_to_bang

Guest
#4
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.


Rupert Brooke
 
#5
Courage is the price that
life exacts for granting peace.
  The soul that knows it not
        knows no release
                from little things;
   knows not the livid
       loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights
   where bitter joy
           can hear
The sound of wings.

AMELIA EARHEART
 
#6
My soul is sick of these modern years
With their tyranny and insensate hate,
And war machines that fill the heart with fears
For the whole world's sake and Mankind's fate.
Let us launch our canoe on the River Time;
I dare you to sail that mighty stream with me,
Let us go to that primitive but less evil time
Where I and my soul have always longed to be.

Let us sail to those years when the tools of war
Were the brave spear and ox-hide shield;
Not roaring guns that slay us from afar -
Which foul weapons, let only the cowards wield;

Let us sail to those years when Gandaya roamed -
A tusked mammoth - through Arfica's wilds;
Death dealt to men, who puny impis* formed
To stay his charge, with unavailing shields.

Let us sail to that year when Lu-Mukanda brave,
Against foul Lufiri, waged earth shaking war
And freed from bonds so many a cowering slave
While slaying the Iti - dread tyrants of yore.

Be you a witness, through Mukanda's eyes,
Of rites most evil in Zima-Mbje's halls
Share you his loves, and heave his many sighs,
Or shout with rapture as his war drum calls.

Witness the quarrels that split the tribe in twain
Into the Zulu and the Qwabe clan
Then wind your way through bush-wet-with-rain
Towards your kraal - a much wiser man.

*impi = Zulu regiment

From 'Indaba, My Children'
 
#7
Brighten My Heart

My body is as tense as a cat's
As it stalks its prey.
Lord, relax my body.

My thoughts swirl like willow branches
Caught in  autumn winds.
Lord, still my thoughts.

My soul is as heavy as peat
Freshly dug from the bog.
Lord, lighten my soul.

My heart is as dark as soil
Sodden with the winter rains.
Lord, brighten my heart.


Celtic prayer.
 
#8
Damn Prodigal,

Those Zulus can write.You can actually FEEL exactly what the writer means....

"Are we going to die Sergeant?"
"Now Now Lad, face front".....

Almost as good as Kipling  ;D
 

Flyingrockdj

War Hero
Moderator
#9
Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.


Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!-An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,-
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
 
S

Snips

Guest
#10
In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead, Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields

Take up your quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields


John McCrae
 
#11
Flying Rock DJ,

If you cast your mind back to the early days of Arrse I believe there was a lot of name calling and one persons name was changed to Mars Bar to protect the innocent so to speak, I fear the code may just have been broken ;D

but back to the thread and continuing with Kipling...

The Sapper
Rudyard Kipling

When the Waters were dried an' the Earth did appear,
("It's all one", says the Sapper),
The Lord He created the Engineer,
Her Majesty's Royal Engineer,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

When the flood comes along for an extra monsoon,
'Twas Noah constructed the first pontoon,
To the plans of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

But after fatigue in the wet an' the sun,
Old Noah got drunk, which he wouldn't ha' done,
If he'd trained with Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

When the Tower o' Babel had mixed up men's bat,
Some clever civilian was managing that,
An' none of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

When the Jews had a fight at the foot of a hill,
Young Joshua ordered the sun to stand still,
For he was a Captain of Engineers,
Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

When the Children of Israel made bricks without straw,
They were learnin' the regular work of our Corps,
The work of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

For ever since then, if a war they would wage,
Behold us a - shinin' on history's page -
First page for Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

We lay down their sidings an' help 'em entrain,
An' we sweep up their mess through the bloomin' campaign,
In the style of Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

They send us in front with a fuse an' a mine
To blow up the gates that are rushed by the Line,
But bent by Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

They send us behind with a pick an' a spade,
To dig for the guns of a bullock-brigade
Which has asked for Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

We work under escort in trousers and shirt,
An' the heathen they plug us tail-up in the dirt,
Annoying Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

We blast out the rock an' we shovel the mud,
We make 'em good roads an' - they roll down the Khud,
Reporting Her Majesty's Royal Engineers'
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

We make 'em their bridges, their wells an' their huts
An' the telegraph wire the enemy cuts,
An' it's blamed on Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

An' when we return, an' from war we would cease,
They grudge us adornin' the billets of peace,
Which are kept for Her Majesty's Royal Engineers'
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

We build 'em nice barracks - they swear they are bad,
That our Colonels are Methodist, married or mad,
Insultin' Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

They haven't no manners nor gratitude too,
For the more that we help 'em the less they will do,
But mock at Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

Now the Line's but a man with a gun in his hand,
An' Cavalry's only what horses can stand,
When helped by Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

Artillery moves by the leave o' the ground,
But we are the men that do something all round,
For we are Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!

I have stated it plain an' my arguments thus
("It's all one", says the Sapper)
There's only one Corps which is perfect - that's us:
An' they call us Her Majesty's Engineers,
Her Majesty's Royal Engineers,
With the rank and pay of a Sapper!
 
#12
The last one was a bit long winded, personally I prefer this one, particularly the last two verses...

A Salute to The Engineers, Rudyard Kipling

Now the Lord of the Realm has glorified the Charge of the Light Brigade,
And the thin red line of the Infantry, when will their glory fade?
There are robust rhymes on the British Tar and classics on Musketeers,
But I shall sing, till your eardrums ring, of the Muddy Old Engineers.

Now it's all very fair to fly through the air, or humour a heavy gun,
Or ride in tanks through the broken ranks of the crushed and shattered Hun.
And its nice to think when the U-Boats sink of the glory that outlives the years,
But whoever heard an haunting word for the Muddy Old Engineers?

Now you musn't feel, when you read this spiel, that the sapper is a jealous knave,
That he joined the ranks for a vote of thanks in search of a hero's grave
No your mechanised cavalrys' quite alright and your Tommy has drained few peers,
But where in hell would the lot of them be, if it weren't for the Engineers,

Oh they look like tramps but they build your camps and sometimes lead the advance,
And they sweat red blood to bridge the flood to give you a fighting chance
Who stays behind when its getting hot, to blow up the roads in the rear?
Just tell your wife she owes your life to some Muddy Old Engineer,
Some dusty, crusty, croaking, joking Muddy Old Engineer.

No fancy crest is pinned to their chest, if you read what their cap badge says,
Why 'Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense' is a queersome sort of praise,
But their modest claim to immortal fame has probably reached your ears,
The first to arrive, the last to leave, the Muddy Old Engineers,
The sweating, go getting, uproarious, glorious Muddy Old Engineers.
 
#14
Here is a good one, I first heard it being refered to by Prof Richard Holmes (nice bloke) when talking about the Italian campain.

I have visited Monte Cassino several times and met some veterans, and boy it sounded like hell, just read any account if interested.  This song was written by Major Hamish Henderson of the 51st Highland Division in response to an ill considered comment by Lady Astor in the House of Commons;

(Melody - "Lili Marleen)

WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS HERE IN ITALY
DRINKING ALL THE VINO, ALWAYS ON THE SPREE,
WE DIDN'T LAND WITH EISIENHOWER
AND SO THEY THINK WE'RE JUST A SHOWER
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


HERE'S TO LADY ASTOR, OUR PIN UP GIRL OUT HERE
SHE'S THE DEAR OLD LADY, WHO SENDS US SUCH GOOD BEER
AND WHEN WE GET OUR ASTOR BAND
WE'LL BE THE PROUDEST IN THE LAND
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


SALERNO AND CASSINO WE'RE TAKIN IN OUR STRIDE
WE DIDN'T GO TO FIGHT THERE, WE WENT THERE FOR THE RIDE
ANZIO AND SANZIO WE'RE O. K.
JUST ANOTHER HOLIDAY
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


AROUND LAKE TRASIMANO WE HAD A LOVELY TIME
BAGS OF WINE AND WOMAN THERE, THEY DIDN'T COST A DIME
BASE WALLAHS, AMGOT AND THE YANKS
ALL STAYED IN ROME , TO DODGE THE TANKS
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


WE STAYED A WEEK IN FLORENCE POLISHED OF THE VINO
THEN THUMBED OUR WAY TO RIMINI THRO THE GOTHIC LINE
SOON TO BOLOGNA WE WILL GO
WHEN JERRYS GONE ACROSS THE PO
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


SOON THE BOYS IN FRANCE, WILL BE GETTING LEAVE
AFTER SIX MONTHS SERVICE ITS A SHAME THERE NOT RELIEVED
BUT WE CON CARRY ON OUT HERE
FOR WHAT MAY BE A FEW MORE YEARS
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


ONCE WE HEARD A RUMOUR WE WERE GOING HOME
BACK TO DEAR OLD BLIGHTY NEVER MORE TO ROAM
THEN SOME ONE SAID IN FRANCE YOU'LL FIGHT
WE ANSWERED "NO WE'LL JUST SIT TIGHT"
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


wHEN THE WAR IS OVER AND WE'VE DONE OUR BIT
CLIMBING OVER MOUNTAINS, THRO' MUD AND SLEET
THEN WE WILL ALL BE SENT OUT EAST
TILL B.L.A. HAVE BEEN RELEASED
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


FORGOTTEN BY THE MANY REMEMBERED BY THE FEW
WE HAD OUR ARMISTICE WHEN AN ARMESTICE WAS NEW
ONE MILLION GERMANS GAVE UP TO US
WE FINISHED OUR WAR WITHOUT MUCH FUSS
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY


IF YOU LOOK AROUND THE MOUNTAINS IN THE WIND AND RAIN

YOU'LL FIND THE SCATTERED CROSSES SOME WHICH BEAR NO NAME
HEART BREAK AND TOIL AND SUFFERING GONE
THE BOYS BENEATH THEM SLUMBER ON
FOR WE'RE THE "D" DAY DODGERS OUT HERE IN ITALY
 
#15
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  Memorializing Events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854
Written April 10, 1864
 
#16
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen  (1893-1918 )

(Due to some wierd scripting, the word O W E N comes up as Mars bar...)?
 
#17
And my personal favorite...

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.


Siegfried Sassoon


 
 
#18
Lives in the balance

I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to its people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the TV
You hear one thing again and again
How the USA stands for freedom
And we come to the side of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a brick or a stone
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children in the cannons
And there is blood on the wire.

They sell us the president the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us everything from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear from somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who are enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There ar echildren in the cannons
And there is blood on the wire.

James Taylor


Perhaps more relevant to the USA/Israel/Palestinian/Arab issue.....but it all leads to the same place.
 
#19
 
1916

Sixteen years old when I went to the war,
To fight for a land fit for heroes.
God on my side, and a gun in my hand,
Chasing my days down to zero.
And I marched and I fought and I bled and I died
And I never did get any older.
But I knew at the time, that a year in the line,
Was a long enough life for a soldier.

We all volunteered,
And we wrote down our names,
And we added two years to our ages.
Eager for life and ahead of the game,
Ready for history's pages.
And we fought and we brawled and we whôred 'til we stood,
Ten thousand shoulder to shoulder.
A thirst for the Hun,
We were food for the gun,
And that's what you are when you're soldiers.

I heard my friend cry,
And he sank to his knees
Coughing blood as he screamed for his mother.
And I fell by his side,
And that's how we died,
Clinging like kids to each other.

And I lay in the mud
And the guts
And the blood,
And I wept as his body grew colder.
And I called for my mother
And she never came,
Though it wasn't my fault
And I wasn't to blame.

The day not half over
And ten thousand slain,
and now there's nobody remembers our names

And that's how it is for a soldier.

© Kilmister, 1991
 
#20
Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
-Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.


What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds

Wilfred Owen (written the week before he was killed)
 

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