War Poetry....

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
That's not a war poem.

Worse, it was written by a female aviator with the same level of navigational expertise as my darling wife.
 
D

Deleted 20555

Guest
And quite suddenly,

In perfect anti-climax,

An end to it, and home:

Face washed with mother's tears

While about you

The small ones jump and shriek.

And then, your father's eyes,

Misty with understanding

Of memories shared across the years,

Awkward

In his first offer of a beer.

And in him too

You recognise

The images of war.
 

bloodgroup_o+

Old-Salt
One day I saw a blue wheelbarrow, the handles were made out of blackened wood. The wheel was struggling to carry it, but it still did the job that it should. The man who was pushing it was crying, his eyes were all puffy and red. It was time for me to move on but I didn’t, I waited for him to reach me instead. The wheelbarrow had a green cover, and there was an unusual sweet smell underneath, a voice in my head told me not to, but I pulled back the cover to see.

The first thing I saw was a tiny hand, the cold fingers all bent into a fist, and just an inch below I held in my hand, the smallest most delicate wrist. Her face was held together with orange thread, her eyes just looked up at the stars, her crown wasn’t on her wee body, all crumpled up inside her Dads cart. I put back the cover and just stood there, my head didn’t know what to think, my heart was tearing itself apart inside me, at this beautiful wee girl in pink.

Her father was sobbing gently, as his family looked on in shock, I couldn’t bring myself to look into that mans eyes, I had no breath left for to talk. I walked away from the blue wheelbarrow, and I thought that I could leave it behind. But every night when my daughter hugs me, the wheelbarrow crashes into my mind. Whenever she cries my stomach goes tight, when she laughs the dark clouds all disappear, whenever she tells me she loves me, I know that I’ve nothing to fear. That wheelbarrow changed me forever, it’s destroyed some relationships in the end. I couldn’t switch off those memories, and I couldn’t explain to my civvy friends.

I’ll never forget her wee wrist in my hand, her face looking up to the sky. Her pink little outfit, stained red with blood, her clear and lifeless brown eyes. I wish I’d asked for her name, that two year old victim of war, so small and so beautiful with those innocent brown eyes, the smell of ointment still fresh on her hair.

If I had to show you my demons, in one image for you to understand. I’d draw that blue wheelbarrow with the green cover on top, and that blood covered wrist in my hand. I’ve seen this stuff at 21, and for the rest of my life I will know, that no matter how bad life may seem at the time, my daughter will always be there to hold.
 

Bowmore_Assassin

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
I like this a lot. Who wrote it and what is the title ?

My Dad did 37 years in the Army. We often had those moments of true mutual understanding driven by the common bond of military service. He's pushing 70 now and still misses the life.

And quite suddenly,

In perfect anti-climax,

An end to it, and home:

Face washed with mother's tears

While about you

The small ones jump and shriek.

And then, your father's eyes,

Misty with understanding

Of memories shared across the years,

Awkward

In his first offer of a beer.

And in him too

You recognise

The images of war.
 

hawky94

Swinger
A dead hero from the Corps

War is raging far away, that we all can see,
For someone threatens our right to live as happy as can be,
But now my brother has left, off to war he went,
With other lads like himself, from this town of Kent,

The military come to me, as his next of kin,
I look out of the window, as the black sedan pulls in,
The officer and Padre both serving in his corps,
Walk solemnly with heads bowed, up to my front door,

Through the glass upon the door, I see this Royal Marine,
In his hands he holds the flag, and a letter from the Queen,
He stares me down and in his eyes, I can see the pain he feels,
I know he too has lost a brother, with whom he shared his meals,

At the funeral of my brother, many eulogies are read,
Some are sad, others are happy, all commemorate the dead,
And my brother is remembered for the service that he gave,
As the flag-covered coffin is lowered slowly into the grave,

I think back to that day, as the rain began to pour,
To that Marine and Padre who came knocking at my door,
And I think of my brother in the peace he now has found,
For his spirit soars to heaven, while his body lies underground,

My brother will be remembered for many years to come,
As the man who gave his life, to preserve our freedom,
And as I remember the men, lost unto these wars,
I think of my brother, a dead hero from the corps.
 

simroy

Old-Salt
Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom

Pte Baldrick (1916)
 

Bowmore_Assassin

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
me and my mucker adapted this one from WW1, after having a gutful of an OC who didn't seem to know how to deploy us properly.
I forget who the original is by.

'He's not a bad chap',
said Shandy to Mac,
As they marched past the major
With SF, manpacked.
But he murdered them both
With his plan of attack.
‘Good-morning; good-morning!’ the General said
When we met him last week on our way to the line.
Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ’em dead,
And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine.
‘He’s a cheery old card,’ grunted Harry to Jack
As they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack.

But he did for them both by his plan of attack.

'The General' Siegfried Sassoon
 
Damn it all! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music!
I have no life save when the swords clash.
But ah! when I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the broad fields beneath them turn crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing.

In hot summer I have great rejoicing
When the tempests kill the earth's foul peace,
And the lightning from black heav'n flash crimson,
And the fierce thunders roar me their music
And the winds shriek through the clouds mad, opposing,
And through all the riven skies God's swords clash.

Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
And the shrill neighs of destriers in battle rejoicing,
Spiked breast to spiked breat opposing!
Better one hour's stour than a year's peace
With fat boards, bawds, wine and frail music!
Bah! there's no wine like the blood's crimson!

And I love to see the sun rise blood-crimson.
And I watch his spears through the dark clash
And it fills all my heart with rejoicing
And pries wide my mouth with fast music
When I see him so scorn and defy peace,
His long might 'gainst all darkness opposing.

The man who fears war and squats opposing
My words for stour, hath no blood of crimson
But is fit only to rot in womanish peace
Far from where worth's won and the swords clash
For the death of such sluts I go rejoicing;
Yea, I fill all the air with my music.

Papiols, Papiols, to the music!
There's no sound like to swords swords opposing,
No cry like the battle's rejoicing
When our elbows and swords drip the crimson
And our charges 'gainst ``The Leopard's'' rush clash.
May God damn for ever all who cry ``Peace!''

And let the music of the swords make them crimson!
Hell grant soon we hear again the swords clash!
Hell blot black for always the thought `Peace!''


Ezra Pound
 
'Vergissmeinnich' - Keith Douglas ( Jan '24 > June 1944)

I heard this poem in the 'World at War' tv series recently regurgitated and read by Sir Larry Olivier.

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground.
We found the place again and found the soldier sprawling in the sun

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look here in the gun pit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put "Steffi, Vergissmeinnich"
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

Bet she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt.
 

DITA

MIA
Not Kipling or anyone famous, but I just discovered this extract of poetry written by my Grandad who served in both World Wars, this is from the First:


Have you ever been out on a listening post with the dead around you laying?
Where the wind, as it sighed through the rustling grass, made you think 'twas the poor dead crying;
Where the star shell soared from the German trench to fall and died out with a splutter;
While away on the right, through the stilly night, you could hear the machine gun stutter.

Have you ever been out in front of a trench, doing a job of wiring,
And you'd hardly started the blasted job, when the Bosch, he started firing;
And you worked in the dark at the blasted wire, 'til your hands were bloody and torn;
And you cursed the war and the damned barbed wire and you wished you'd never been born.
 
Very timely find. With the centenary of WWI fast approaching there could be an interest in having them published or the manuscripts being included in an exhibition. Look forward to reading more.
 

DITA

MIA
I know he joined in Feb 1915, 4th Bn The Gordon Highlanders. More than likely serving in the second battle of Bellewaarde, and thereafter. Once I have more info I'll post it up.I blame the wife for this renewed interest in my family, if it wasnt for her finding her Grandad's WW2 medals in a drawer in her dads house, I would be none the wiser, so actually, cheers wife!
 

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